Sam Cooke – Tribute To The Lady (1959)

FrontCover1Samuel Cook (January 22, 1931 – December 11, 1964), known professionally as Sam Cooke, was an American singer, songwriter, civil-rights activist and entrepreneur.

Influential as a singer, composer, and producer, he is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocals and importance within popular music. He began singing as a kid and joined the Soul Stirrers before moving to a solo career where he scored a string of hit songs including “You Send Me”, “A Change Is Gonna Come”, “Cupid”, “Wonderful World”, “Chain Gang”, “Twistin’ the Night Away”, and “Bring It On Home to Me”.

His pioneering contributions to soul music contributed to the rise of Aretha Franklin, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Billy Preston, and popularized the likes of Otis Redding and James Brown. AllMusic biographer Bruce Eder wrote that Cooke was “the inventor of soul music”, and possessed “an incredible natural singing voice and a smooth, effortless delivery that has never been surpassed”.

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On December 11, 1964, at the age of 33, Cooke was shot and killed by Bertha Franklin, the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California. After an inquest and investigation carried out by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the courts ruled Cooke’s death to be a justifiable homicide. Since that time, the circumstances of his death have been called into question by Cooke’s family.

Tribute to the Lady is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, released in 1959. It was recorded in tribute to jazz vocalist Billie Holiday, who died later that year. The backing band is the René Hall Orchestra. (by wikipedia)

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An album that’s seldom been seen and disappeared almost as quickly as it was released. Sam Cooke turned these songs inside out with twisting, awesome interpretations. It was one of the few times he was able to break out of the light pop/teen idol bag in a studio and pour his heart into great lyrics and numbers. (Ron Wynn)

Sam “Mr. Soul” Cooke was multi-talented, and his range of songs were from Gospel to Jazz including blues and folk. Here he sings songs made famous by the great Billie Holliday. He does more than justice to them all, and I am sure “Lady Day” felt honored by his rendition of her songs. In the last months of his career and life, you can hear him doing a mixture of songs on “Live at the Copa,” and if you want a real soulful/Gospel oriented album, get the “Live at the Harlem Square Club.” The only live Gospel album is “The Great 1955 Shrine Concert” where he rocked the house (church gathering). I am fortunate to meet and talk with Sam Cook late in 1955 when he was with the Soul Stirrers in my home city of Charleston, SC.

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My teenage Gospel group members and I went to see him, and he treated us as if each one of us was special. We were only fourteen and fifteen years old at the time. We saw women – and men – screaming and the women falling out from his powerful singing. When he was murdered, we all felt as if we had lost a big brother. When people visit us, they see so much Sam Cooke paraphernalia that they ask, “Were you related to Sam Cooke?” lol By the way, he added the “e” to his name when he left the Soul Stirrers and the Gospel circuit and went secular in 1957. He was born Samuel Cook. I bought “Tribute to the Lady” as a gift, and my son loves it. I had the vinyl copy back in the 60s. (Caroll L.)

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Personnel:
Sam Cooke (vocals)
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René Hall Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. God Bless The Child (Herzog, Jr.) 2.36
02. She’s Funny That Way (Daniels/Whiting) 1.53
03. I’ve Got A Right To Sing The Blues (Arlen/Koehler) 2.36
04. Good Morning Heartache (Fisher/Drake/Higginbotham) 2.10
05. ‘T’aint Nobody’s Bizness (If I Do) (Grainger/Robbins) 2.28
06. Comes Love (Brown/Stept/Tobias) 2.31
07. Lover Girl (Man) (Davis/Ramirez/Sherman) 2.27
08. Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 2.22
09. Lover Come Back To Me (Romberg/Hammerstein II) 2.14
10. Solitude (Ellington/DeLange/Mills) 2.25
11. They Can’t Take That Away From Me (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 2.34
12. Crazy In Love With You (Benton/Otis) 2.35

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Sam Cooke (January 22, 1931 – December 11, 1964)