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Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke Paperback – Bargain Price, September 5, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From The New Yorker
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Dream Boogie is an intelligent read that leaves no stone unturned in chronicling Sam Cooke's entire life and career. Every session, every tour, and every release is discussed, and if you're a fan of the man's music, as opposed to simply being attracted to the sensational elements of his life that have been beaten into the ground over the past 40+ years, you will enjoy this book immensely. Guralnick is clearly a student of Cooke's music, and provides context and details about that music that had never been revealed prior to the release of the book.
If you want to find out what Sam Cooke's innermost thoughts and feelings were, you are going to be disappointed, because as the book makes pains to reveal, Cooke had demons that he never fully revealed to even his closest friends or family. Everyone of interest that was ever associated with Cooke was interviewed in a thorough fashion by Guralnick (who, by the way, also interviewed Cooke himself prior to his death), and if none of them could crack Cooke's complex nature, you can hardly expect Guralnick to do so either.
My one minor quarrel with the book is that Guralnick, after going to tremendous lengths to introduce us to Cooke inner-circle figures like Bobby Womack, J.W. Alexander, and Allen Klein, doesn't quite tie up all the loose ends associated with these people that followed Cooke's demise. For instance, I thought Guralnick could have told us that Womack went on to achieve significant solo success, or that he divorced Cooke's ex-wife in 1970, that Alexander passed away in 1996, etc. But these are just tangential facts. The facts that most readers should want, aka the ones involving Sam Cooke, are all here.
Despite the fascinating life (and death) of Sam Cooke, Peter Guralnick dropped the ball; he is more a researcher than a writer and does better capturing the letter than the spirit of the story. He gives inordinate ink to the adventures and accounts of groupies and minor hangers-on than more prominent sources (such as Muhammad Ali and James Brown) who are also still alive.
One oft-repeated tale is that of the joyously drunken recording of 'Bring it on Home to Me,' famously recounted in Daniel Wolff's superior Sam Cooke biography 'You Send Me.' In 'Dream Boogie,' there is no mention of the excitement and electricity surrounding this recording session. Although Guralnick might have wanted to avoid repeating the story in favor of original research, he misses out on the heart and soul of what Sam Cooke was all about.
There were instances in this book, where I thought the author was not objective in his writing. Times where I had to go back over a paragraph to see if he was quoting someone, or if that was his personal opinion. Also like another poster mentioned, there were details about his relationship with Allen Klein that were left out. This book left me with more questions than answers, and I too would have wanted to know what became of his family, years later. What of the "outside" children? What about his daughters? Are they getting any money at all from Sam's work?
If you want a good read about Mr Cooke, I will suggest "You Send Me, The Life and Times of Sam Cooke" by Daniel Wolff. That book will have you feeling like you were there, and not like an outsider looking in, as in this book.
I am sorely disappointed with this book. The only thing preventing me from putting it down (unfortunately, I'm still in the middle of it) is sheer stubborness and the hope that it will redeem itself soon. I've probably skipped more pages than I've read. It's a pity that Sam isn't here to tell his own tale. It seems as if the author was able to locate everyone else who ever came in contact with him and allowed them to include their thoughts and opinions, whether the observation was pertinant to the story or not. I believe that many passages could simply have been ommited. And that if they were, the book would have been a far better (and shorter) read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must read for those interested in American music and in race relations and particularly where the two intersect.Published 16 days ago by Einar E Kvaran
The book is interesting and reads well. If you're a Sam Cooke fan this read will give you a good depiction of his life.Published 6 months ago by Harry P.
Excellent book ! My husband played a sgnificant part in helping Peter gather facts for this book . And he was also in the book !Published 8 months ago by glenda harris
Sam Cool was a big part of my youth. He was so smooth. That voice said so much. Sad he got involved with such low lives and paid with his life. Read morePublished 15 months ago by kathryn stout
It's a great book for people already well-versed with studio/recording artists politics and transactions during the 1950s and 1960s, but, for what I wanted to learn about Sam... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Kristine Fisher
Know more about the life and legend of this entertainer than I ever imagined. I couldn't put it down, but there are a few gaps in the storytelling near the end. Read morePublished 21 months ago by pdandj