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Complete Recordings of Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers [Box set]

Sam CookeAudio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

Price: $23.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon's Sam Cooke Store


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Image of Sam Cooke


Sam Cooke, the son of Reverend Charles Cook, Sr., (a Baptist minister) and Annie May Cook was born January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1933. He had four brothers and three sisters - Willie, Charles Jr., L.C., David, Mary, Hattie and Agnes.

Sam graduated from Wendell Phillips High School in 1948, where he distinguished himself as an ... Read more in Amazon's Sam Cooke Store

Visit Amazon's Sam Cooke Store
for 74 albums, 4 photos, discussions, and more.

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Complete Recordings of Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers + Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 + Sam Cooke - Greatest Hits
Price for all three: $43.16

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 22, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Specialty
  • ASIN: B00006LI1I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,088 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Come, Let Us Go Back to God
2. Peace in the Valley
3. I'm Gonna Build on That Shore
4. I'm Gonna Build on That Shore
5. I'm on the Firing Line
6. I'm on the Firing Line
See all 29 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. End of My Journey
2. He'll Welcome Me
3. He's My Friend Until the End
4. He's My Friend Until the End (take 2 - alternate)
5. I Have a Friend Above All Others
6. Come and Go to That Land
See all 30 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. The Last Mile of the Way
2. He's So Wonderful
3. Touch the Hem of His Garment
4. Jesus, Wash Away My Troubles
5. Farther Along
6. Must Jesus Bear This Cross Alone?
See all 25 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

While the pop classics by the grit-and-honey singer reached a broader audience, Sam Cooke's formative music with the Soul Stirrers, recorded for the Specialty label, ranks with both his best and gospel's best. Only 19 when he was recruited in 1950 to replace the group's venerable R.H. Harris, Cooke developed the signature style he would carry into the popular arena while he was still singing church music. Disc 1 shows the raw passion of a vocalist who has yet to apply the polish for which he would become known. By disc 2, Cooke is no longer tentative in replacing a legend but asserting an irrepressible musical identity. Disc 3 demonstrates his growth as both a vocal master and an ambitious songwriter--most famously on "Touch the Hem of His Garment"--while documenting his transition as a solo artist into the secular arena. Among the revelations of the set's 83 tracks, the stripped-down arrangements on the alternate takes of "Come and Go to That Land" anticipate the rise of "sacred steel," while the vocal call-and-response over the organ bedrock of "All Right Now" is as rapturous as gospel gets. After the various takes of "Were You There?" show how Cooke could take the most familiar material and make it his own, the final three tracks capture his electrifying impact in live performance. --Don McLeese

Product Description

All 84 sides Sam recorded with the Soul Stirrers-many featuring him trading lead vocals with the awesome Paul Foster-on one spirit-lifting, soul-shaking 3-CD set! Inside are such touchstones as Jesus Gave Me Water; He's My Friend until the End; Be with Me Jesus; Touch the Hem of His Garment; That's Heaven to Me ; the pop hit I'll Come Running Back to You , and more, including alternate takes and 20 minutes of the Soul Stirrers' stunning 1955 performance at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Joyous!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable collection April 21, 2003
Format:Audio CD
This is a fascinating document. Presented in chronological order (aside from a few live songs tacked on to the end), it charts the growth not just of Sam Cooke as an artist, but the slow birth of secularized soul from 50's gospel roots. All the recordings sound great, and credit most be given to the folks at Specialty for preserving the masters - outtakes included - with such obvious care. The earliest material here, from 1951, would probably be considered "pop gospel" for the time. It flows nicely, isn't much for histrionics and makes for smooth listening. If you didn't know better, it might take you a song or two before it becomes obvious that it's Sam Cooke singing, and not just some guy who maybe sounds like him. But by 1953, Cooke's vocal style is impossible to mistake; he dominates the songs, and when Paul Foster pops up now and then, the contrast between his "blacker" gospel voice and Cooke's velvet tone is amazing - and it's not that Foster isn't amazing too, by the way. By the third disc, the line between gospel and pop has become utterly blurred - a song like "I'll Come Running Back To You" has as good a claim to be the first "soul" song as any. It's obviously gospel-influenced, and the lyrics are ambiguous enough that you could make a claim for it being a gospel tune, but . . . something, somehow has changed. Aside from historical importance, it's a riveting song and possibly Cooke's single best performance.
The attractions of this box are its completeness, great sound and nice packaging.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birth of Soul December 11, 2002
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is the heart of soul singing. There is not a bad or boring track on this CD Box Set. Sam Cooke was the inspiration for nearly every soul singer you will ever hear. If you think you know his work from You Send Me and his pop work, you are in for a surprise. These are some of the finest recording he ever made and they all pre-date You Send Me. The Soul Stirrers had been around for decades when Sam joined them and this is the finest example of their work. Sam fairly floats like a jazz singer over their meaty chords. Yet this is not jazz, this is gospel and you will cherish every word.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sam Cooke gospel anthology August 10, 2005
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As a lifelong fan of Sam Cooke, I have looked for a way to enjoy all of the great music that he created in his brief gospel career without purchasing a number of CDs. This collection has allowed me to accomplish that. This set showcases the vast talent of these men and from time to time, gives a peek behind the curtain of the finished recordings.

My only criticism of the collection is that several secular songs (certainly not the best of those that Sam Cooke recorded) are tossed into the middle of one of the disks, throwing off the feel and flow.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completists please note... March 19, 2003
Format:Audio CD
This is not quite the complete Sam Cooke at Specialty -- it does not include the tantalising bonus track on the "2 Sides" album.
Having said that, it does include the best work done by the greatest soul/gospel singer bar none. So I am not complaining.
(The producer of these recordings and founder of Specialty Records, Mr Art Rupe, is never given enough credit for his wonderful work. And for keeping the tapes from the original sessions for future generations to enjoy. Respect due.)
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Finally Here!! Sam Cooke at his best (?) November 30, 2005
Format:Audio CD
In the last few years the work of Sam Cooke has gotten more attention. Not only for his soulo work but also what he did when he was with the greatest gospel group of the 1950's: The Soul Stirrers.

There have been some albums which had some of his gospel stuff but there were always songs missing. Now Specialty decided to put all his gospel stuff on three CD's and add a nice booklet with an exstensive history of the group.

Some people may find it somewhat hard to realize but for a long time Sam was bigger in the gospelfield than the popfield. Some even say that his best work was as a member of the Soul Stirrers.

The booklet gives detailed information on the recording sessions and they placed the songs on the CD's in chronological order so you can hear the development.

Besided being a very gifted singer he also was good songwriter as you can hear on these CD's.

The best addition is three songs from a live show in the LA Shrine Auditorioum with songs that go on forever and when they really shout.

This is definitely a CD to have if you are interested in gospel, Sam Cooke or the birth of soul in general.

This is the ultimate Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers collection.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close Your Eyes And Listen May 23, 2003
Format:Audio CD
To the voice that kills all others from Elvis to Sinatra.
In my honest opinion Sam Cookes gospel recordings leave his secular work far far behind. From the first to last track this is a lesson in musical history.
Thr last 3 songs taken from the shrine concert live will dispel any doubts that Sam Cooke was only a smooth singer . Man he proves here that he can shout better than Otis, Al Green, or Wilson Pickett.
At last he seems to be getting the dues he so rightly deserves , but don't take my word for it . Buy this set and listen without prejudice. If you are not truly amazed then you shouldn't be listening to Sam Cooke , maybe Liberace would be more your cup of tea
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good
Published 1 month ago by mrs. betty davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
If you like Sam Cooke, this is a must have.
Published 1 month ago by Ian
5.0 out of 5 stars Sam Cooke an the Soul Stirrers
What can I say. I have most of Sam Cooke"s CD's. I bought this for someone, so I can't be selfish and keep it for myself. Or, could I?
Published 2 months ago by Beatrice L Lindsey
5.0 out of 5 stars Music
I love Sam Cooke. My daddy love's Sam Cooke! I bought this for him for Christmas and he said this is the best Christmas gift he has gotten!
Published 8 months ago by edawg_al
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful renditions with alternate takes
I am glad I read the reviews before buying this item so I was not unhappy with multiple takes of most songs. Read more
Published 8 months ago by M. Balima
4.0 out of 5 stars Gospel Only
This is not the complete recordings of Sam Cooke, but the complete recordings of Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Thoth
5.0 out of 5 stars Gave this 5 stars because all was good with product.
Love Sam Cooke. Great music. Clear sound. Good CD. Product delivered on schedule and packaged well. Love the old time gospel. Not too fond of new music.
Published 11 months ago by bobbie j
5.0 out of 5 stars Great gospel music
I just love this cd. I listen to it everyday. If you are thinking of purchasing this cd, i say go for and you will love it.
Published 12 months ago by lillie brewer
5.0 out of 5 stars Sam Cooke the best male gospel singer ever!
I love this because it had all of his gospel on one CD set. This is vital for all Cooke Fans to add to their collections.
Published 12 months ago by Malinda Ann Spann
5.0 out of 5 stars Music for the soul.
These recordings brought back memories of what gospel music used to sound like: simple yet completely soulful. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Carletta
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