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A pioneer of soul music
le 13 août 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 Louis Armstrong and Herman's Hermits both having big hits 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.