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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 1 March 2015
Sam Cooke and Otis Reading are the voices of soul for me. I can't be doing with the screamers, even Aretha makes me run sometimes ---no Respect there. You don't have to scream to be soulful and Sam Cooke could pierce you to the core with simple songs and arrangements that stand the test of time, except today the songs would have been longer and that would be great --- I always want more.
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on 7 January 2005
wow what a fantastic cd album of sam cookes best hits and the sound is top draw stuff if you have a sacd player and speakers to hear it on. but the case packaging as another reviewer as said is pants, as soon as i had removed the plastic film the booklet fell out of the case and as ripped from the staples inside. why do record companys think we want rubbish digi pack packaging as i would have kindly paid more money to have better case and covers than digipak rubbish. what a shame as this man and his music sould be wrapped up in gold......
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on 2 August 2005
Sam Cooke's voice is still unrivalled-simple fact!
He didn't invent soul, but he had a major part in its' rise and was one of the first black artists to sell across the race divide-more facts.
Unfortunately, like everyone else, he had great days, good days, OK days and bad days. That extended to the recording studio, and this compilation faithfully echoes the lot.
The good outweighs the bad, but putting it chronologically means a lot of nondescript efforts trying to recreate the glories of You Send Me & Only Sixteen get in early on.
Later on, the padding consists of standards like Basin Street Blues, which just don't set THAT voice apart, because you've heard the song so often before by other people!
Sorry, but this compo just doesn't serve Sam's genius. It needed a better programming mode than chronological and a bit more thought about what you put between the hits. I know he died before he fulfilled his full potential, but believe me, the guy towered higher and longer than this undistinguished pick will lead you to believe.
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on 21 August 2012
This 30 song career-spanning survey of the scintillating soul singer Sam Cooke, displaces RCA's magisterial but out-of-print mid-'80s release The Man and His Music, as the most comprehensive single volume collection of the man's work available. That 28 track effort included a great many of his best 1950s and 1960s sides: the likes of 'A Change Is Gonna Come'; 'Bring It On Home To Me'; 'Chain Gang'; 'Shake'; 'Somebody Have Mercy'; 'Touch The Hem Of His Garment', and 'Wonderful World' all featured. Sensibly, Portrait of a Legend includes these as well - but does make a few minor adjustments to that double LP. The first is that it drops half a dozen or so tracks from the running order (including 'That's Heaven to Me'), and adds a couple of new ones in instead (such as closer 'Jesus Gave Me Water'). Secondly, there are some hefty, informed liner notes here - where they were totally absent on that album - by one of his biographers, Peter Guralnick, which look into the background of each song. The result is a 79 minute, CD-filling collection that in Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, was ranked at 107.
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on 31 December 2003
Superb artist, superb songs, superb CD quality! You would think Sam had recorded these tracks last year. Unfortunately, ABKCO Records have decided to go for really cheap and tacky digipak packaging – the very good booklet that accompanies the CD, which is glued to the digipak front cover, won’t stay in one piece for very long. The people at ABKCO Records should be sacked for being so miserly. Let’s hope ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ on the packaging front.
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on 26 March 2008
Sam Cooke was a musical genius. As a performer, singer and songwriter he excelled and surpassed all his competitors. This essential compilation (Only When a boy falls in love is missing among these best songs) shows his development, his growing from gospel and pop gems to A change is gonna come, one of the best songs in history. His style of singing is so awesome it may take a few listening to realize in full, because it's done with such ease that is almost a miracle. His effortless melisma, his golden tone, his "feeling" (after all, that's what soul music is about) are haunting, as so many singers who try (in vain) to match it, even in our days, show. More than 40 years after his death, songs like You send me, Chain gang, Wonderful world (I fell in love with it thanks to "Witness", of course), Cupid (And with this one thanks to "Innerspace"), and of course A change is gonna come still sound fresh and gloriously beautiful. Only if you have all the songs of this set already you shouldn't buy the CD. For the rest of the world, there are no excuses to miss it.
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on 17 September 2005
Chain Gang is one of the best songs I've ever heard. Along with other such classics as Only Sixteen, and Twisting the night away this album is a must have for all Sam Cooke fans
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on 2 January 2014
As a teenager I did not listen so much to soulmusic or to Sam Cooke. All I knew was the beautiful song "A wonderful world". It was only later when I start to dig into the history of music that I came to understand the importance of Sam Cooke. At the same time I started to listen to a singer capability of singing and voice control. After having read different articles about Sam Cooke I decided a few years to buy this record.

Definitely no regrets. The title 'portrait of a legend' tells it all. It's a very good collection of songs giving a good overview of his career: well know songs like 'Send Me", 'Wonderful World' and 'A change is gonna come' are included. The record also contains a few songs that had not been available before. Instant favorite 'just for you' is one of them. It's song that expresses Sam Cooke his quality for 100%, especially if you consider that a. he wrote the song b. took care of the arrangement and c. also delivers the backgroundvocals. Just listen to the two waves of lines within the song.

Portrait of a legend is an excellent portrait of a soullegend. It is a perfect introduction into the world of Sam Cooke. It is a well balanced collection of songs. Every singer should listen closely to Cooke attitude towards delivering "who-ho-ho" before starting wiht "oehs" and "aahs" in a song.
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on 17 August 2015
I've just played this through and apart from the well-known songs we all love, the rest showcase a voice that's never going to be forgotten. I wish someone would do a programme featuring Cooke at his best, because he didn't just sing songs, he did so much more. An amazing man with an amazing talent which just shines through on here.
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on 4 October 2015
What an album, what a singer. Fantastic collection of stunning sounding songs. I've just bought 2 more copies of this album from Amazon (used) to give to a couple of friends. Delivered straight away and in good condition.
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