When Sam Cooke signed with RCA Records in 1960, he had already had several hits ("You Send Me," " Wonderful World," and "Only Sixteen" among them) on the small independent label Keen Records. He had paid attention to the business sides of things, too, and he signed with RCA because he was allowed to keep control of his song publishing. His RCA albums, eight of them, were mixed affairs for the most part, often full of covers, but Cooke was never less than charismatic when he sang, and his last two albums, the blues-inflected Night Beat and the dynamic One Night Stand! Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club, both of which were released in 1963, are classics by any definition. This box set collects all of Cooke's RCA LPs, and if some of them seem random, it's always Sam Cooke, which means all of them are worth having. Here's an easy way to do that. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi
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