Friday, 4 March 2016

What we're listening to. Sam Cooke 'Live at The Harlem Square'.


'Live at the Harlem Square' (Harlem Square is actually in Miami btw) is also known as 'One Night Stand', Sam Cooke's second live album.

Recorded in January 1963 although only released in 1985, because the record label thought it might be damaging to his 'pop' image. He was known as the 'King of Soul' with Aretha, 'The Queen'.

It is generally regarded as one of the best live albums ever released.

And it comes with a great story...read on, dear reader, read on....

The Album, from the spoken intro onwards, creates a great sense of a 'speakeasy' club. Intimate. 

'Chain Gang' you'll know and 'Cupid', 'Twisting the night away', 'Having a Party' but 'Bringing it all back home' is the cracking track. Notable too from the Van Morrison tribute ("Sam Cooke is playing on the radio" from 'Real Real Gone') and with Van's reference to "You send me" directly taken from 'Bringing it all back home'. A tribute indeed.

It's real soul.

Very worthy of the listen to understand the roots and the transition from Gospel to Soul. 

What we didn't know at all, was the manner of Sam Cooke's death at 33.

He was shot and killed, clad only in a Sport Jacket and shoes (no pants) by Bertha Franklin in The Hacienda Motel in LA, she was the Manager and it was ruled a 'justifiable homicide'. 

What happened was, she said, that Cooke broke into her office and attacked her. He was in a rage looking for a lady who had accompanied him to the Hotel earlier, whom she explained, wasn't there. 

In Cooke's rage and not believing her, he grabbed her so she shot him in the heart fatally.

At the time Bertha was on the phone to the Motel's owner (Evelyn Carr), who claimed to have heard the whole thing. 

The woman whom Cooke was looking for, was identified later (Elisa Boyer) because actually, she was also on the phone at a booth beside the Motel at the time to the police, saying she'd just escaped being kidnapped. 

She said, she had been with Cooke earlier that night socialising and when Cooke promised to take her home, he took her to the Motel against her will. When he took her to the room, he attempted to rape her (hence no pants) and then she escaped after a struggle.

Another view, because the family disputed all of this, was that she had gone willingly and was trying to rob Cooke (she took Cooke's clothes with her). 

Tests showed that Cooke was drunk.

That was December 1964, 10 months after the record was released. A tragic end to a great Soul singer. Have a listen.....




Previous "listen to's" you'll also find on this blog.......The Doors LA Woman; Thin Lizzy Live & Dangerous; Kendrick Lamarr Butterfly; Aretha Franklin Amazing Grace; Clapton 461; Massive Attack Blue Lines; The Clash London Calling; Chris Isaak At The Filmore; Bob Dylan Street Legal;Bad Company Straight Shooter; Jackson Browne Love is Strange; Lou Reed Transformer; Steely Dan AJA; Stones Black+Blue; Stephen Bishop Careless; Nils Lofgren Night after Night; Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells; Neil Young Harvest; Led Zep 4; David Bowie David Live; Van It's too late to stop now; Wings Band on the run; Rod Stewart Atlantic Crossing; Ryan Adams Heartbreaker; Santana Essential; Bob Dylan Desire; Roxy Music For your pleasure; Bob Marley Legend; Stephen Fretwell Magpie; James Taylor Sweet Baby James; Deep Purple Machine Head; Springsteen Darkness on the edge of town; Leon Bridges Coming Home; Eagles Hotel California; Jungle; Aretha Soul Queen; Neil Young After the Goldrush + Harvest; Zappa Overnite Sensation; Fleetwood Mac Rumours; Keith Jarrett Koln Concert; Doobies Southbound; Stevie Earle I feel Alright; Tom Waits Closing Time; Pink Floyd Dark Side; Van Moondance; Eric Church Caught in the Act; Randy Newman Little Criminals; Elton John Madman across the water; Patti Smith Horses; Doobies Captain and Me; Steely Dan Can't Buy a Thrill.