Whether Going Short Or Long With His Vocal Belts, Sam Cooke Proves He Is Still King Of The Slow Jam On ‘30 Greatest Hits: Portrait of a Legend’
30 Greatest Hits: Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 really goes back in time to give us some of the best music Sam Cooke ever put out – and it seems to serve as a perfect introduction to one of the most successful and recognized Soul singers of all time. Being an R&B fan myself, I am of course familiar with Cooke, but admittedly, I wouldn’t be able to say which original album is going to be essential listening, and so I am very happy with what I hear on this compilation – where staple songs benefit from an excellent remaster, and other songs that I am not so familiar with really illuminate for me how ahead of time these Soul songs were. Gospel energy was refashioned into sexual energy, clearly risqué for it’s time period, but the man had so much love to give – predating Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. He’s the original Soul stirrer, the original king of the slow jam, and though some songs are arranged in a safer, accessible style, I like hearing how the passion in his voice always cuts through.