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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Portrait Of A Legend
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£10.15+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

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 29 November 2006
Since the 1980s issue of "The Man And His Music" it has been hard to get hold of a comprehensive Sam Cooke compilation. This makes a very fine effort, starting with sublime gospel of "Touch The Hem Of His Garment", this takes a fascinating journey through the classic perfect pop of much of Mr Cooke's output to the sombre, majestic, stunning "A Change Is Gonna Come". The definitive version of this song is here. Aretha does it well, Otis does it well, The Neville Brothers did it ok and even Beverley Knight did a respectable version on "Later With Jools Holland..." This is the definitive version.

The man's voice is pure gold, his songwriting pen is instinctive and contained herein is some of the greatest pop music ever made, some of the finest soul and one of the greatest songs recorded in the last fifty years.

Peter Guralnack's excellent liner notes are a bonus.
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on 10 January 2017
A few years ago I realised that Sam Cooke had one of the all time great voices, so wondered why I had heard so much less of him than other great vocalists like, say Otis Redding. This album will give you the answer. There are some great songs, including one of the all time greats; A Change Is Gonna Come, which amazingly isn't on some of the other Sam Cooke compilations.

The problem is that the songs are mixed and packaged for a white 50's to 60's middle of the road audience. To hear that great voice and then hear it on a great song like "Little Red Rooster", which is so badly produced here is, quite frankly, very sad.

Buy this album and love the joy that Sam's voice will bring to your life. In a reflective moment wonder if one of his mates recorded some stuff when he was just mucking around and offer your soul and your house to hear it.
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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 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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VINE VOICEon 25 June 2014
A very good selection of Sam Cooke's music. Its typically Sam Cooke opening and closing with strains of his roots in Gospel music also favourites such as 'You were made for me', 'Cupid'. 'Chain Gang' in all 30 beautifully enhanced tracks all as far as I can see re-mastered from the original recordings.
The sound produced is 'richer' and clean a very good listen!
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on 30 October 2015
I am no music aficionado, and I don't really know Sam Cooke's stuff, other than the well known hits. Having listened to this, I enjoyed it but I would say the later stuff is better than the earlier stuff. One or two tracks are sublime but listened to in one go, his singing style does get a bit repetitive. Nonetheless, a good album to have in your collection
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon 13 August 2005
Whether Sam really was the first soul singer as some people claim, I'm not sure, though he has a strong claim to the title. In any event, this is an excellent collection of his music.

Sam made his breakthrough with You send me, which went all the way to number one in America (where it sold a couple of million) though it barely made the top thirty in Britain. In the fifties, when music was often racially segregated, this was quite an achievement. Sam was well aware of the problems, as is clear from his song, A change is gonna come. The change did come (to some extent, at least) though Sam, murdered aged just 33, did not live to see it.

Another important American hit, Only sixteen, fared slightly better than You send me in the UK despite being covered by Craig Douglas who took the song to the very top of the UK charts. Sam's version of Wonderful world, another huge American hit, again only registered in the UK top thirty at the time of its original release, though Brits grew to love this song, with Herman's Hermits also having a big hit in the sixties. Sam's version made number two in the UK when re-issued in 1986.

Sam finally achieved success in the UK when Chain gang, Cupid and Twisting the night away all made the top ten. Only two more UK hits followed - Another Saturday night (which Cat Stevens covered in the seventies) and Frankie and Johnny (not included here), both of which made the top thirty. However, Sam had many more (and bigger) hits in his homeland, where his music was better appreciated. There are many other great songs here, too numerous to mention.

This is a better compilation than the earlier one titled The man and his music, featuring more tracks, extensive liner notes and even better sound quality. Many of the songs are the same but there are a few differences, although all the essentials are on both collections.

If you enjoy Sam's music, this is the best compilation yet released. If you are new to his music, you are in for a real treat if you buy this. Sam's role in the development of soul music cannot be over-estimated.
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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 November 2014
Stunning vinyl remaster LP and the LP Album itself, is so classy and really a top notch package. As for the great Sam Cooke, he would love this a real master.
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