Sam Cooke 

Keep Movin' On (ABKCO)

The ongoing battle between RCA Records, for whom Sam Cooke recorded from 1960 until his death in 1964, and accountant Allen Klein, who became the singer's manager in 1963, continues with the release of Keep Movin' On by Klein's ABKCO label. Both companies claim ownership of Cooke's recordings and have competing packages on the market, of which Keep Movin' On ranks as perhaps the strongest single-disc compilation yet of Cooke's post-gospel sides. The album, issued to coincide with an outstanding one-hour VH1 Legends documentary, draws on material cut in 1963 and '64, when Cooke had begun taking control of his artistic output, adopting a rawer R&B approach than the middle-of-the-road pop path down which RCA had led him earlier. While the former Soul Stirrers lead was still doing pop fluff such as "The Riddle Song" ("I gave my love a cherry...") and the previously un-issued "I'm Just a Country Boy," as well as big-band swingers like "Basin Street Blues" designed to please the Copacabana crowd, his focus shifted more toward the sockin' soul of "Good News," "Shake," and "Yeah Man" (the prototype for Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music"). And in what turned out to be his swan song, Cooke reflected the struggle for civil rights in the haunting "A Change Is Gonna Come," heard here in its unexpurgated version. The insightful booklet notes are by Peter Guralnick, who also wrote the VH1 script and is working on what promises to be the essential Cooke biography.


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