Today I was in there supporting my neighbourhood 'book and coffee' shop (on instruction from Big Rock Candy Mountain) and it seems there is a new Peter Guralnick book out about Sam Cooke. Ooo! I thought. Then i looked at the price ... so I sat on the floor with it for a few minutes (my lunch break). According to reviewers at Amazon.com I don't know enough about the subject to be able to judge it (which is fine as judging is over-rated imho) but anyways.
I started at the beginning and was fascinated (despite my tummy rumbling). I loved the descriptions of the early church meetings, of Sam Cooke, full of confidence, leading his group in any setting, radiating peace and "the rightness".
I loved also the recollections of his brother talking of Sam playing in the yard, practising, with (what was it? sticks and rocks?) saying "this my audience, I do it this way, I got it all planned out, see because it's a system, and this is how I'm gonna do it. I'm not gonna work no 9 to 5". He was seven years old and he had a plan. Maybe I had a plan at seven. Maybe not. I forget. Sam Cooke had a plan. AND IT WORKED. As far as it went. Anyway, it was a great moment. Peter Guralnick wrote it down. Thank you those men.
Thank you for reminding me that I might have had a plan when I was seven.
Soul Stirring. Not enough of that these days.
So ... What we need is a good dose of Soul Stirring. With Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers. They were possibly the most successful Gospel group in America at the time. In 1950 their lead tenor RH Harris retired and 19 year old Sam Cooke walked into his place in history. What would you do. Well he didn't. He had a plan. He sang it like he felt it. No trying to ape any predecessor here. In fact if you compare these tracks to any of his later pop hits ... make that Pop Hits ... you'll agree that the Sam Cooke plan was already up and running. He had been practising.