One Night Stand! Live At the Harlem Square Club, 1963
Not officially released until 1985, these live recordings from Miami's Harlem Square Club on Jan. 12, 1963, showcase Sam Cooke as a tough, demanding R&B singer, far from the smooth pop stylings of his singles. Playing with his road band and saxophonist King Curtis, Cooke has all-star accompaniment at every turn. But the true star here is Cooke. It's his gritty delivery that reinvigorates the once-mild offerings of "Cupid" and "For Sentimental Reasons" and takes his soul classics like "Chain Gang," "Twistin' the Night Away," "Bring It on Home to Me," and "Having a Party" and turns them into passionate, personal expressions of spiritual power. Cooke brings his gospel best to the material, and his influence on Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, and an entire generation of rock 'n' roll singers can be traced to his interpretations' phrasings and energy. Even the audience gets involved. With this much excitement, it'd be impossible to not get in the spirit.