Results for Sam Cooke

interviews

Hal Blaine of The Wrecking Crew

halblainealbum Hal Blaine may not be a household name, but if rock ‘n’ roll is all about the beat, then the 86-year-old drummer is arguably one of the biggest rock stars alive. It's his stamp you hear on some of the biggest records of the 1960's and early '70s. He recorded with Elvis, The Mamas and the Papas, Sam Cooke, Simon & Garfunkel, The Carpenters, Jan and Dean and even Barbra Streisand. That's 38 chart-toppers to be exact, and over 5,000 songs. So if we're comparing successful outputs, that really makes his only rival The Beatles!

Of course the idea of a session musician is something we're familiar with today, but many listeners can probably still remember their own revelation that their favorite acts might not have played their own songs. You expect that of The Monkees, but The Beach Boys? The Byrds? Many of their songs were actually recorded by Hal Blaine and The Wrecking Crew – a loose organization of California studio players whose members included Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, Earl Palmer and more. There was an unspoken pact to keep their hit-making machine a secret, but as time has gone on, they've gotten their due. Hal Blaine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and last month saw the release of The Wrecking Crew, a new documentary directed by Denny Tedesco, son of crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco.

Go to episode 488

Herb Alpert

Whipped Cream & Other Delights Jim and Greg are delighted to be joined this week by legendary trumpeter Herb Alpert. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass scored a string of instrumental hits in the '60s, from "The Lonely Bull" to "Casino Royale" to "A Taste of Honey." His 1965 album Whipped Cream & Other Delights became a staple of record collections all over, which was helped by its iconic, risqué cover. He even scored a surprise #1 hit as a vocalist with the Burt Bacharach/Hal David composition "This Guy's In Love With You." But Alpert's remarkable career goes well beyond his own recordings. Along with his partner Jerry Moss, he cofounded the venerable label A&M Records, signing a diverse roster including the Carpenters, Cat Stevens, Joe Cocker, The Police, and Janet Jackson. Through his philanthropic foundation, he's donated millions toward music education. And if that's not enough, he's also an exhibiting sculptor. At age 81, he's still going strong, with a brand new album called Human Nature. Herb Alpert discusses the genesis of his signature double-trumpet sound, being mentored by Sam Cooke, and his ethical approach to owning a label.

Go to episode 565
reviews
The Bravest Man In the Universe (Expanded Edition)The Bravest Man in the Universe available on iTunes

Bobby Womack The Bravest Man in the Universe

Like Patti Smith, Bobby Womack's got a storied musical history. He played with Sam Cooke in the sixties, was a session musician for Aretha Franklin and Sly Stone, and finally made a name for himself as a solo artist with classic R&B albums like Communication and The Facts of Life in the seventies. Unfortunately addiction dragged him down and by the nineties Womack was a musical nonentity. With The Bravest Man in the Universe, Womack announces his comeback. He's cleaned up and is working with producer Damon Albarn of Blur. Womack and Albarn have played it smart, Jim says, by not living in the past. The electronic soul tracks Albarn's created for Womack don't sound vintage in the slightest. The themes might be familiar - Womack sings from the point of view of a man who done wrong - but the music is challenging and fresh. Greg agrees. While he wishes Albarn and Womack hadn't turned over quite so many tracks to guests like Lana Del Rey, he's loving Womack's sandpapery voice. Double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 345
Unorthodox JukeboxUnorthodox Jukebox available on iTunes

Bruno Mars Unorthodox Jukebox

Two years ago, Bruno Mars won Jim over with his infectious (and ubiquitous) "Lazy Song." Like its author,“The Lazy Song”was youthful and hard to dislike. Plus, who can resist Bruno's backstory? The pop phenom got his start at age four impersonating Elvis in his hometown of Honolulu before founding top-tier production team The Smeezingtons. Having crafted hits for the likes of Cee Lo Green and Travis McCoy, Bruno released a solo debut, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, in 2011. Late last year we got the follow up, Unorthodox Jukebox. Jim and Greg kick off their review by playing "Gorilla". It's“the stupidest song on the album”according to Greg, though there are some other contenders. Bruno's randy lyrics are nothing to write home about, but even on this record's stinkiest tracks, there are redeeming pop touches - a cool chord progression or a spot-on Prince falsetto. Jim agrees. Bruno Mars may be a lightweight, but his re-workings of Elton John, disco, and Sam Cooke are appealing and melodic. This is appropriation, but it's good appropriation. Unorthodox Jukebox gets a double Burn it.

JimGreg
Go to episode 372
dijs

Jim

“The Oogum Boogum Song”Brenton Wood

It was movie night recently in Jim's“Critiquing the Arts”class at Columbia College. He and his students sat down to watch Almost Famous - still the only feature film he knows about rock criticism. The film's opening number "The Oogum Boogum Song" blew his students away, so this week Jim pays homage to this hidden gem with his Desert Island Jukebox pick.“The Oogum Boogum Song”is the work of R&Bsinger Brenton Wood, a Compton native and fan of Sam Cooke who narrowly avoided being a one hit wonder with his other hit, "Gimme Little Sign." Jim puts“The Oogum Boogum Song”alongside other nonsense rock classics like "MMMBop" and "Tutti Frutti."

Go to episode 363
lists

Music of the Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Music

When you think about the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, perhaps the powerful words of Martin Luther King Jr. or the horrific images of Emmett Till come to mind. But, for Jim and Greg, the music equally lingers. Songs by Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, Sam Cooke and more captured the mood and inspired action. Here are some that continue to resonate:

  1. "Driva Man" by Max Roach & Oscar Brown Jr. featuring Abbey Lincoln, 1960
  2. "How I Got Over" performed by Mahalia Jackson at the March on Washington, 1963
  3. "In the Mississippi River" by the Freedom Singers, 1965
  4. "Mississippi Goddamn" performed by Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall, 1964
  5. "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke, 1964
  6. "Keep On Pushing" by The Impressions, 1964
  7. "Freedom Highway" by The Staple Singers, 1965
  8. "Lift Every Voice and Sing" performed by Kim Weston at Wattstax, 1972
Go to episode 534

Unrequited Love Songs

What would rock ‘n’ roll be if not for the thousands of songs about love and heartbreak? Jim and Greg explore this legacy for this week's Valentine's Day episode featuring the best Unrequited Love Songs:

Go to episode 272

Songs About America

Sound Opinions celebrates Independence Day this week with Jim and Greg's favorite Songs about America. These are great rock songs that capture our country's spirit — the good, the bad and the ugly.

Go to episode 136

Guest Desert Island Jukebox

Jim and Greg usually monopolize the desert island jukebox playing tracks they can‘t live without. But this week, they’re handing out quarters to some of the talented guests that have appeared on the show, so they can share the songs they'd take with them if stranded out at sea.

  • Moby, Cat Stevens, "Peace Train" and The Beatles, "Let It Be"
  • Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life
  • Sleater-Kinney, Sam Cooke, Greatest Hits: Sam Cooke, Television, Marquee Moon, Tears for Fears, Songs From The Big Chair
  • Shamir, Wolf Alice, "Lisbon"
  • Rush, Buffalo Springfield, "For What It's Worth" and The Who, Who's Next
  • Herb Alpert, Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
  • Bob Mould, The Beatles, Revolver (in mono)
  • L.A. Reid, Steely Dan, "Haitian Divorce"
Go to episode 590

Protest Songs

August 28, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech "I Have a Dream." And when Jim and Greg look back at that era, the music stands out as much as the marches and words. During this segment they talk about the role music played in the struggle for civil rights and how gospel and folk influences found their way into the pop charts. Jim and Greg also speak with legendary disc jockey Herb Kent about working at WVON (Voice of the Negro) during this time. Here are the protest songs Jim and Greg highlight:

  1. "Driva Man" by Max Roach & Oscar Brown Jr. featuring Abbey Lincoln, 1960
  2. "How I Got Over" performed by Mahalia Jackson at the March on Washington, 1963
  3. "In the Mississippi River" by the Freedom Singers, 1965
  4. "Mississippi Goddamn" performed by Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall, 1964
  5. "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke, 1964
  6. "Keep On Pushing" by The Impressions, 1964
  7. "Freedom Highway" by The Staple Singers, 1965
  8. "Lift Every Voice and Sing" performed by Kim Weston at Wattstax, 1972
Go to episode 404
news

Music News

Greg begins this week's news segment by complimenting Jim's use of the word“Blitzkrieg”in reference to The Strokes' quick tour of North America. Our first news story deals with the top 20 grossing concerts of 2005. The saggy-butted Rolling Stones led the list with a gross total of $162 million, followed by Jim's favorite band, U2. Two "artists", Celine Dion and Barry Manilow, didn't even have to tour to make the list—they simply took residency in one of Las Vegas's gaudy venues and raked in the cash.

A favorite of Sound Opinions, Courtney Love, returned to the headlines recently in a New York Post story detailing her financial woes, and more importantly, contemplating the sale of the Nirvana catalogue. Jim believes this would be a disaster, akin to Michael Jackson bringing the Beatles to Nike.

A sad story rounds out our news segment: the death of legendary Chicago singer Lou Rawls. The velvety-voiced singer died of cancer in Los Angeles. Growing up on the south side of Chicago, he referred to the the cold Chicago wind as the“Hawk,”and introduced the monologue to music, leading the way for hip-hop as an art-form. He was neighbors with another Chicago legend, Sam Cooke, and traded lines with him in the soul classic "Bring it on Home". Lou's final public appearance was a stirring rendition of God Bless America during the World Series.

Go to episode 6