Sam Cooke — Live At The Harlem Square Club, 1963

There are plenty of legendary albums, but few stunning live releases. Sam Cooke’s blistering set recorded in a sweaty Miami Club (pre-dating Live At The Apollo by ten months) could well be the best ever. Mr Soul gives his all through a gig that includes Chain Gang, party rave-up Twisting The Night Away, and the definitive version of Bring It On Home To Me. Cooke’s usually sweet voice is at times raspy, which gives the tunes an added fervor as he brings the audience to the edge of ecstasy like a Southern Preacher conducting a sermon. Most concert albums show an artist performing at their peak of their live career. The scary thing is that this was the norm for a Sam Cooke show. Shamefully unreleased until 1985, Live At The Harlem Square Club is the ultimate testament to the inventor of Soul Music.

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