“Ain’t That Good News” by Sam Cooke - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1964Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

There’s an underlying world weary tone to Sam Cooke’s final LP, released for RCA in March 1964. It was the first LP that he recorded after having lost his 18-month-old son, Vincent, who died of an accidental drowning in June 1963. Behind the scenes his marriage was falling apart, and to boot, he was, along with millions of African-Americans becoming increasingly infuriated by the anti-black institutionalization still so prevalent within the United States in the mid-1960s. Often in this set, Cooke reaches back to his gospel roots to sing these songs with an intensity and passion never heard before on his pop recordings – no matter whether it’s an upbeat groover or a downtempo ballad. 6 of the 12 came from his own pen – and yet again his finest songs are his own songs. Last year’s smash hit “Another Saturday Night” finds Sam in irresistible form – on his game, no one can touch him when it comes to pop with a soulful groove.

Side 2 opens with a monster, Sam’s own “A Change Is Gonna Come”. Here, the man touches genuine greatness, with one of the most powerful, most poignant and most enduring songs ever to speak out against America’s racism. Cooke had been greatly moved by Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”, especially given that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was not black. It stirred his very own social consciousness into response, and what drama ensued. By this stage, it seems that his fears of losing his largely white fan base have been put aside in the name of truth. The song came to exemplify the 1960s’ Civil Rights Movement, gaining in popularity and critical acclaim in the decades since its release, and is #12 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Tragically, Sam Cooke was murdered in December 1964, in circumstances which, perhaps even more tragically, seem destined to remain unresolved and forever unclear.

Cut down in his prime, who knows where the man could’ve gone from here. One thing’s for sure, he was simply going from strength to strength in my eyes and he bowed out on a high…

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:30] 7.0.png Sam Cooke - Ain’t That Good News (Samuel Cook) Soul
A2 [02:44] 8.1.png Sam Cooke - Meet Me At Mary’s Place (Samuel Cook) Soul
A3 [02:28] 9.2.png Sam Cooke - Good Times (Samuel Cook) Soul
A4 [02:34] 6.7.png Sam Cooke - Rome (Wasn’t Built In A Day) (Samuel Cook, Betty Prudhomme, Beverly Prudhomme) Soul
A5 [02:42] 9.9.png Sam Cooke - Another Saturday Night (Samuel Cook) Soul
A6 [03:12] 7.8.png Sam Cooke - Tennessee Waltz (Pee Wee King, Redd Stewart) Big Band / Jive / Swing
B1 [03:13] 9.5.png Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come (Samuel Cook) Soul Ballad
B2 [02:45] 5.0.png Sam Cooke - Falling In Love (Harold Battiste) Crooner / Cabaret
B3 [02:32] 5.1.png Sam Cooke - Home (When Shadows Fall) (Jeff Clarkson, Harry Clarkson, Peter Van Steeden) Crooner / Cabaret
B4 [03:18] 5.4.png Sam Cooke - Sittin’ In The Sun (Irving Berlin) Crooner / Cabaret
B5 [03:03] 6.1.png Sam Cooke - There’ll Be No Second Time (Cliff White) Soul Ballad
B6 [02:30] 4.9.png Sam Cooke - The Riddle Song (Traditional) Pop Ballad

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