Monday, 22 December 2014

Days of 49

It's called "49ing" or "bridging" (the former alludes to The 49th Street Bridge Song aka Feelin' Groovy) and it is, at least according to an article I read, the latest craze for music fans of a certain age - usually male. It's very simple, but has really taken hold now that just about everyone has a microphone of sorts connected to their PC for skyping etc.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Sam Cooke documentaries on BBC Radio 2


I don't know whether they are connected but there are two Sam Cooke documentaries on BBC Radio 2 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his death. The first, (Don't Fight It) Feel It: the Sam Cooke Story, was broadcast on Tuesday and is now available on BBC iplayer here - I'm presuming in America too. It will be accessible for four weeks.

The second programme, The Shooting of Sam Cooke, will be broadcast next Tuesday and available on iplayer here shortly afterwards - the page is worth visiting beforehand as it suggests original research:
With the help of a private detective, Dotun Adebayo examines the never-before-aired coroner's report, searching for signs of foul play, and scrutinises testimonials. He interviews key witnesses, like Grammy-winning record producer Al Schmitt, who was the last person to see Sam alive, and speaks to Sam's living relatives. Dotun takes a magnifying glass to the events of that fateful night, with the intent to unravel what really happened.
Is there really more to be uncovered beyond speculation? We shall see.  


I have now listened to The Shooting of Sam Cooke. It wasn't bad, though it didn't really add a great deal to the little that is already known, and what came across most strongly, from members of Cooke's family and others, was that the death should not have been so sordid and grubby: it doesn't fit with that sweetest of voices and Cooke's iconic status.

There are two biographies out there, and the second one, by Peter Guralnick, suggests Cooke compartmentalised his life very capably, so the banality of his death doesn't seem all that unlikely to me. And the suggestion in the programme that Bobby Womack (Cooke's protege) exploited his death needs to be set against Womack's allegations in Peter Guralnick's book that while Cooke encouraged him he was also pinching his ideas.

Other posts on this blog about Sam Cooke:

The Elusive Man and His Accessible Music

Discusses Peter Guralnick's biography Dream Boogie, the CD box set of Specialty Recordings and A City Called Glory, the BBC radio play by Neil McKay.

Waxing/waning crescent moon (Sam Cooke in the Soul Stirrers) 
Discussion of the Specialty gospel sides with audio clips.

Ben E King at Jazz Cafe and repost of Stand By Me
A comprehensive account of the origins of Ben E King's Stand By Me, including a discussion of Cooke's Stand By Me Father, Tindley's gospel original, and A Change Is Gonna Come.

Don't Stand So Close By Me
A Junior Parker song closely modelled on Cooke's Stand By Me Father plus other examples of musical "borrowing."

Whatever happened to ... the Sam Cooke biopic?
Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais talk about their rejected film treatment.

The Lives of Sam
Update on biopics and stage plays about Sam Cooke