Sam Cooke "My Kind of Blues" LP
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Sam Cooke was such an important pioneer of soul music that he was commonly known as the king of the genre. His distinctive emotive voice is one of the most easily recognizable of all in popular music and his work paved the way for countless other giants, including Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Al Green, among many others. A native of Clarksdale in northwest Mississippi that was raised in Chicago, he was the fifth of eight children born to a Pentecostal minister. Beginning his career with his siblings as The Singing Children, he led gospel group The Highway QCs in his teens and then joined The Soul Stirrers, reaching greater glory upon going solo in the mid-1950s, when he scored the first of many number-one hits for the short-lived Keen label, and then reached a wider audience upon switching to RCA in 1960. My Kind Of Blues was recorded for the label in 1961 (just as Cooke was launching his own SAR Records imprint), being a collection of show tunes and jazz standards, delivered in a soulful blues style by Cooke atop lush orchestration, arranged and conducted by trumpeter and bandleader, Sammy Lowe. Highlights include a suave version of Duke Ellingtons "I'm Just A Lucky So And So", a cool cut of "Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out", a stirring take of George Gershwin's "But Not For Me" and a lovely rendition of Irving Berlin's "The Song Is Ended".