Sam Cooke

Playlist: The Very Best of Sam Cooke

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This concise 14-track playlist does a great job of tracing the arc of Sam Cooke’s late-'50s and early-'60s secular pop recordings, from “You Send Me” through “(What A) Wonderful World” to the late-era “Bring It on Home to Me,” which was a perfect blend of the blues and gospel traditions Cooke had been mining all along. Soul, they called it, and Cooke had it from the start, wowing the gospel world with the Soul Stirrers before he stepped over the line into the Saturday night world of pop. This intelligently conceived little set tells the back half of that story very well.

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