The 2 Sides of Sam Cooke
Before Sam Cooke began his rise as a major soul-music innovator, he spent his early days as a member of the legendary gospel group The Soul Stirrers. "Jesus Gave Me Water" is Cooke's first recording, made at just 19 years old, while "Touch the Hem of His Garment" and "The Last Mile of the Way" are exemplary looks at this emerging song stylist. The pop side presented here is less definitive. It features Cooke's earliest attempts at crossover, including "Lovable," which had been originally issued as being by "Dale Cooke" to avoid misleading his gospel fans. While the pop sides weren't as commercially successful as Cooke's later efforts, there's still plenty to recommend in his confident, clean delivery. "I Don't Want To Cry," "That's All I Need To Know," and "Happy in Love" feature that special glide in Cooke's voice that made everything he sang an appreciable gift.