Tuesday, January 22, 2008

'Bring It On Home To Me'

iTunes is a one dangerous animal.

Music is available literally at your fingertips. I browsed awhile last night and swear I could have dropped a C note without batting an eye.

Plus you learn disturbing things about your musical habits. For example, I have apparently listened to RobinElla's "Teardrops" more than 100 times over the past couple of years.

The next "most played" track is also courtesy Ms. Contreras -- "Morning Dove," at about 85 spins, followed closely by Floyd Cramer's "Last Date" and Joe Cocker's "I Shall Be Released."

God, I was born too late.

Anyway, last night I took a stroll down Soul Street and came away with a real gem -- Sam Cooke's "One Night Stand: Live at the Harlem Square Club."

Some albums just feel so alive, full of energy and sweet rhythm. This one blows everything you thought you knew about any of that way off the charts.

My friend Amanda Mohney, a former Shopper-News contributor and a music critic I respect, once said that Sam Cooke was smooth as silk, the kind of guy that never had to slide up into a note in order to hit it. All you need for evidence is this live album. He shines so well here, easily shifting from sweet pop syrup to rhythm and blues, classic soul and back again.

Highlights? Well, dang near every track. Faithful renditions of hits like "Chain Gang" and "Cupid" are here, but these live tracks swing along to some kind of wonderful beat that couldn't be captured in a studio.

Cooke has the audience join in on a medley of "It's All Right" and "For Sentimental Reasons." In anybody else's hands this could have been the sleeper portion of the show -- the moment you skip out for a drink or to find the john. But Sam turns it into a showstopper, one of those musical moments you hope lasts forever, wouldn't miss for the world.

"Twistin' the Night Away" holds its own with Cooke's other great live version, recorded at the Copa; both of them simply demolish the studio cut. But the best track has to be "Bring It On Home To Me," the kind of song that tends to define a career. Sam sings from way down deep inside somewhere; you manage to both feel his pain and develop a strong urge to grab a girl and dance your ass off.

I finally turned the iPod off about 1, figuring I needed to at least try to get some sleep. But as my thoughts gave way to slumber, I was still sitting in that Harlem club, adrift somewhere in the early '60s, listening to this phenomenal talent swing that sweet soul better than nearly anybody else.

Everybody was having a party, swinging and dancing to the music. And, me and my baby? Well, were out there on the floor, begging that DJ to keep those records playing...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooooooooooooh bring it to me.
bring your sweet lovin'
bring it on home to me... yeah...

11:53 AM  

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