WBEZ | Sam Cooke http://www.wbez.org/tags/sam-cooke Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Filmmaker discusses "Life Itself" http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2014-12-26/morning-shift-filmmaker-discusses-life-itself-111293 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Flickr Sound Opinions.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We break down the Christmas Bulls/Lakers showdown. Renowned director Steve James joins us to discuss public reception to his documentary chronicling the life of Roger Ebert. And, we revisit an in-depth conversation with former Chicago photojournalist, Scott Strazzante.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-filmmaker-discusses-life-itself/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-filmmaker-discusses-life-itself.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-filmmaker-discusses-life-itself" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Filmmaker discusses "Life Itself"" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 26 Dec 2014 09:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2014-12-26/morning-shift-filmmaker-discusses-life-itself-111293 Morning Shift: City Council's Inspector General won't back down in efforts to maintain power http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-08-01/morning-shift-city-councils-inspector-general-wont <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1900087_621907811180036_582291181_n.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We talk to City Council&#39;s Inspector General, Faisal Khan, to learn more on his continued battles with aldermen over his role as a watchdog. We also talk with Alderman Joe Moore on his vote for council&#39;s reform. Then, we hear from a band that&#39;s known for channeling their inner Sam Cooke.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-city-council-s-ig-battles-to-maintai/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-city-council-s-ig-battles-to-maintai.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-city-council-s-ig-battles-to-maintai" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: City Council's Inspector General won't back down in efforts to maintain power" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-08-01/morning-shift-city-councils-inspector-general-wont Captured: The Live Album http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/captured-live-album-101877 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" src="https://rd.io/i/QX9-5DNOpp8" width="500"></iframe></p><p>Forty years ago, Neil Diamond released the legendary live album&nbsp;Hot August Night, which went on to sell millions of copies and solidify his icon status. Host Tony Sarabia and WBEZ&rsquo;s Richard Steele play tracks from some of their favorite live albums and talk about what makes them exciting for some and frustrating for others. And, <a href="http://www.sammoore.net/">Sam Moore</a> of the 60s R&amp;B act Sam and Dave stops by to talk about his career in music, in advance of his Thursday and Friday shows at the City Winery Chicago.&nbsp;</p><hr /><p><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><p>Forget for a moment<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIAQaReXzB0"> Will Ferrell&rsquo;s hilarious skewing of Neil Diamond</a> and look at the man for what he is: a kitschy showman with a fondness for glitz. Oh wait, isn&rsquo;t that the Neil Diamond as portrayed by Ferrell? Well yes, but beyond the façade is a talented songwriter who gave us a number of hummable tunes such as &quot;Holly Holy,&quot; &quot;Solitary Man&quot; and &quot;Red Red Wine.&quot;</p><p>40 years ago this Friday, Diamond took the stage with his 13 member band and about two dozen string players, for one of a handful of sold out concerts at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. That show was captured on tape and a few months later the double live <em><strong>Hot August Night </strong></em>was released.</p><p>There are a couple of things that make this album noteworthy: it spent 29 weeks at number one on the Billboard charts and the show format would lay the foundation for Diamond&rsquo;s future concerts. It was an important moment in pop history that Diamond himself has recently revisited at the same theater.</p><p>There are memorable moments on the album: the slow funk burn of &quot;Solitary Man&quot; and the gospel inflected &quot;Red Red Wine.&quot; Having never seen Neil Diamond perform live, <em>Hot August Night</em> allows me to imagine me in that audience back in 1972 well before he was parodied by Will Ferrell.</p><p>I&rsquo;d argue that&rsquo;s one of the purposes of the live album; think of all those college aged Bob Marley fanatics who close their eyes and put themselves in the audience at that 1974 show at the Lyceum in the UK. The live album provides listeners a connection to an artist/group they aren&rsquo;t able to make in real time.</p><p>The live album can also serve as a moment of change whether planned or not.</p><p>This week, in light of the 40<sup>th</sup> anniversary of that Neil Diamond show that resulted in the double live album <em>Hot August Night</em>, Richard Steele and I delve into the live album and consider why our picks merit special attention.</p><p><em><strong>David Live</strong></em> was David Bowie&rsquo;s first official live album and he&rsquo;d be the first to tell you that it was not a good outing. He even commented on the album&rsquo;s cover shot of him saying it looked like he had just stepped out of the grave. He also joked the album should have been titled, &ldquo;David Bowie is Alive and Well and Living Only in Theory&rdquo;.</p><p>Criticism of the album ranged from poor sound quality to lackluster performances by Bowie and the band. One of the songs (the original release contained 17 songs while a 2004 CD re-issue included 22) is the 1966 Eddie Floyd soul hit &quot;Knock on Wood.&quot; Mick Jagger called Bowie&rsquo;s take &ldquo;awful&rdquo;</p><p>Jagger also had this to say about the album&rsquo;s reception by critics: &quot;if I got the kind of reviews that he got for that album, I would honestly never record again. Never.&quot;</p><p>Good thing Bowie didn&rsquo;t heed his friend&rsquo;s advice because one of the things <em>David Live</em> represents is another one of Bowie&rsquo;s musical chameleon moments. Bowie has said <em>David Live</em> was the death of Ziggy Stardust and although most of the tracks featured are culled from<em> Ziggy Stardust</em> and <em>Aladdin Sane</em>, those songs are re-worked to reflect Bowie&rsquo;s growing fascination with American soul music; more specifically the Philly Soul sound of the Gamble and Huff years.</p><p>So instead of the 1:38 second glam rock of his <strong>&quot;All the Young Dudes&quot;</strong> you hear on the Ziggy Stardust and the <em>Spiders from Mars </em>Motion Picture Soundtrack from two years earlier, you get a four minutes plus doo wop/ blues inspired take complete with saxophone and piano. It&rsquo;s almost as if Bowie&rsquo;s channeling not soul music but his earlier Hunky Dory days. His voice is smokey and more laid back and it does reflect some of what&rsquo;s heard on Diamond Dogs, the album that was released a few months before David Live.</p><p>But again, it was soul music that was on Bowie&rsquo;s mind and that infatuation would lead him to record his &ldquo;plastic soul&rdquo; <em>Young Americans</em> album in mid-tour, renaming the tour Philly Dogs.</p><p><em>David Live&nbsp;</em><strong>-</strong> like many live albums - has its ups and downs, but it&rsquo;s an important release in the rock genre because it serves as an historical document in Bowie&rsquo;s long career.</p><p>Talk about a comeback! And even the album cover is a work of art ( I have a reproduction hanging in my living room). The&nbsp;<em><strong>Judy at Carnegie Hall&nbsp;</strong></em>concert comes six years after her triumphant screen portrayal as Esther Blodgett in the 1954 movie <em>A Star is Born</em>. But lots had changed for <strong>Judy Garland</strong> since that stellar performance; by 1959 she was &nbsp;more heavily into drugs and booze and she had become overweight.</p><p>She decided to hire a vocal coach and get back into shape physically and mentally. So by the time she hit the stage at Carnegie Hall on the night of April 23<sup>rd</sup> 1961, she sounded in top form, with a new maturity to her voice. That evening has been called the greatest night in show business history. It&rsquo;s been noted the success of that night was not only due to Garland&rsquo;s superb voice but her ability to connect with the audience. Even Hedda Hopper, the hardnosed gossip columnist, said, &quot;I never saw the likes of it in my life.&quot; <em>Judy at Carnegie Hall</em> includes what I think is the tour de force from <em>A Star is Born</em>,<strong> &quot;The Man That Got Away.&quot;</strong>&nbsp;She brings the listener back to that little nightclub in the movie. Wow, what a performance!</p><p>Judy Garland was the first female artist to win a Grammy for Album of the Year and <em>Judy at Carnegie</em> was the first live album to snag a Grammy.</p><p>In 2006, Rufus Wainwright paid homage to Judy Garland and that special night in 1961 by recreating song for song that the Carnegie Hall performance.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4716407789_84ab1805c9_z.jpg" style="float: left; height: 225px; width: 300px; " title="Johnny Cash's 'Folsom Prison Blues' (Flickr/Peter Renshaw )" />As you can hear from June Carter&rsquo;s comment at the beginning of <strong>&quot;Jackson&quot;</strong> from the 1968 live album <strong><em>At Folsom Prison</em>,</strong> this wasn&rsquo;t the first time Johnny Cash and his crew had played Folsom State Prison in Represa California. Cash loved playing for the inmates. He said they were the best crowd to play for because of their enthusiasm and you can certainly here their appreciation during this rousing take on the Cash hit.</p><p>The lead off tune on the album is Cash&rsquo;s 1955 hit &quot;Folsom Prison Blues.&quot; The live version hit the Top 40 charts and along with favorable reviews of the album, Cash&rsquo;s waning career was revived with him once saying, &quot;That&rsquo;s where things really got started for me again&quot;.</p><p>By August 1968, <em>Folsom</em> had sold over 300,000 copies; two months later it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Cash&rsquo;s 1969 follow up &ldquo;At San Quentin&rdquo;, would be his first to hit number one on the Pop Chart.</p><p><strong>Richard Steele:</strong></p><p><strong>Sam Cooke</strong> was a stand-out vocalist whose dad was the minister of a South Side church. Cooke&rsquo;s early successes were the result of his commitment to gospel music. But in the mid-&lsquo;50s, he made a very controversial switch to R&amp;B music with the monster hit &ldquo;You Send Me.&rdquo; Cooke&rsquo;s music was mostly mellow and well-suited for the pop music charts. His 1964 album called&nbsp;<em>Sam Cooke</em> <em>at the Copa&nbsp;</em>became a No. 1 hit.&nbsp; Critics weren&rsquo;t very impressed: They said his performance was &ldquo;Sam Cooke light&rdquo; to please the mostly white audience at the Copa.</p><p>His live session,&nbsp;<strong><em>One-Night Stand! Sam Cooke Live </em></strong>at the Harlem Square Club, was recorded in 1963, which was about a year before the Copa album, but it wasn&rsquo;t released as an album at the time. In 1985, RCA went deep into its vaults and released it. The consensus from both fans and critics was that this was one of the best live R&amp;B recordings ever made. As you listen to Cooke&rsquo;s performance, it&rsquo;s obvious that the soul sound critics thought was missing from the Copa recording was in full force at the Harlem Square Club in Miami. First you&rsquo;ll hear a short introduction by the club emcee, and then Cooke does a thumping version of &ldquo;Feel It.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue&rdquo; by Duke Ellington and his orchestra with a fabled tenor sax solo from Paul Gonsalves&hellip;from the album&nbsp;Duke Ellington at Newport.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Duke Ellington </strong>was one of the most celebrated bandleaders of the 20th century. The orchestra had fared well thru the &lsquo;20s, &lsquo;30s and &lsquo;40s, but by the mid-1950s, the new thing was rhythm &amp; blues and rock and roll. Large jazz ensembles were just about passé. The Ellington Orchestra had been reduced to playing a skating ring gig. Then along came the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. What happened there with Duke&rsquo;s orchestra was the stuff of legends. On the final performance one night, they played a charged-up version of <strong>&ldquo;Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,&rdquo; </strong>which included a 27-chorus solo by tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves.</p><p>The 7,000 people who caught that performance went crazy! They were so pumped up that the festival promoter feared there might be a riot. Duke Ellington was back! There&rsquo;s an ironic twist to this story.&nbsp; There were some technical problems with the recording and a few other things that Duke was not happy with, so they went into the studio the next day and re-recorded some performances with dubbed-in canned applause, simulated live ambiance and reverb and also recreated announcements. So in reality, the album was only partly live. It was many years before most fans knew the truth &hellip; but for most, it didn&rsquo;t matter. It was still a great recording.&nbsp;</p><p>The l<strong>ate James Brown</strong>, known as the &ldquo;Godfather of Soul,&rdquo; created an R&amp;B legacy that very few performers can match. His first hit record was&nbsp;<em>Please, Please, Please</em>&nbsp;in 1956. He followed that up with 50 years of great music and spectacular performances. Back in 1962, he wanted to record his live show and produce an album from it. His record company thought that was a dumb thing to do because there wouldn&rsquo;t be any new material on the album. Brown&rsquo;s position was that he wanted to capture the intense crowd response at his concerts. The answer was still no, so he put up his own money to do it, and the rest is history.&nbsp;<em>James Brown Live at the Apollo</em>&nbsp;was a smash and is still considered a classic. You can hear his fans really get into it while James does this version of&nbsp;<strong>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll Go Crazy.&rdquo;</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/349218110_9b06157547_z.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px; " title="(Flickr/Chris Olson)" /></p></p> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 14:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/captured-live-album-101877 Soul singer Sam Cooke gets Chicago honorary street http://www.wbez.org/story/soul-singer-sam-cooke-gets-chicago-honorary-street-88017 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-17/Cooke_in_studio.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Saturday Chicago's roster of honorary streets will grow with the addition of one that recognizes Sam Cooke, a pioneer of soul music. The new designation includes a stretch of &nbsp;36<sup>th</sup> and Cottage Grove, a corner just a block south of where the soul singer once lived. Cooke also attended elementary and high school nearby.&nbsp;</p><p>"We’re talking about Sam Cooke and this is what put Chicago on the map," said Gregg Parker, founder of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagobluesmuseum.com/">Chicago Blues Museum</a>. He’s been pushing for <a href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/sam-cooke-p3960/biography">Sam Cooke</a> to be honored because American soul artists, as well as English musicians who came across the pond, owe a musical debt &nbsp; to Cooke.</p><p>"It was just unfortunate that he didn’t live long enough and we have to start showing and reflecting the history of these great artists out of Chicago," Parker said.&nbsp;Cooke died in 1964.</p><p>Cooke was known for crooning “You Send Me” and the politically charged "A Change Is Gonna Come." He was also one of the first black performers to delve into the business side of music.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 18 Jun 2011 09:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/soul-singer-sam-cooke-gets-chicago-honorary-street-88017 Ain't that good news? Singer Sam Cooke gets street renamed in his honor http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-06-17/aint-good-news-singer-sam-cooke-gets-street-renamed-his-honor-87997 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-17/Cooke_in_studio.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/E6kzP5dHuZI" width="480" frameborder="0" height="390"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Watch the above clip of Sam Cooke singing his 1957 hit <em>You Send Me </em>on <em>American Bandstand</em>.</p><p>He's cool. Confident. Assured. "A lil' bit sexy," a female friend emailed me when I sent her this clip. And most certainly a star on the rise.</p><p>Cooke was shot to death in an Los Angeles motel at the height of his fame in 1964 under circumstances that still baffle. But his music continues to resonate nearly a half century later.</p><p>Cat Stevens, Luther Vandross, The Pretenders and countless others have remade or referenced Cooke songs over the past 40 years. Cooke songs have turned up in 20 different movies and television shows over the past two decades, according to Internet Movie Database.</p><p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl3lx3xfhtI&amp;playnext=1&amp;list=PL5817EAAA7F8F32F9"><em>Twisting the Night Away</em></a> was featured in that awful <em>Green Hornet</em> movie earlier this year. They played <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v09Rc2AAQPs"><em>Shake</em></a> in an episode of HBO's<em> The Wire</em>. And I still get the chills when Cooke's <em>A Change is Gonna Come</em> is played in a pivotal scene toward the end of <em>Malcolm X</em>. (It begins at 2:34 <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M23exYfGBl8">in this clip</a>.)</p><p>Sam Cooke's latest honor comes Saturday at 2pm when a stretch of 36th Street in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood will be renamed <em>Sam Cooke Way</em>, marking the place where the late, great soul singer spent his formative years. The renamed section begins at Cottage Grove and runs east, passing the site at 36th and Ellis where Cooke's boyhood home once stood.</p><p>Cooke's great-nephew Erik Greene spent four years advocating for the honorary street renaming. Greene is also the writer of a Cooke biography called <em><a href="http://www.ourunclesam.com/">Our Uncle Sam</a></em>. I asked him a few questions about Cooke and his legacy.</p><p>Q: Why is this honorary street important?</p><p><strong>A: I was born and raised in <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_2">Chicago</span> but never had an appreciation for the rich&nbsp;musical history of Bronzeville until I researched its history for what would eventually become&nbsp;<em><u>Our <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_3" style="border-bottom: 2px dotted rgb(54, 99, 136); cursor: pointer;">Uncle Sam.</span></u></em> It was then I learned Bronzeville was home to not just Sam, but&nbsp;<span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_4">Nat King Cole</span>, <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_5" style="cursor: pointer; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent;">Dinah Washington</span>, <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_6">Lou Rawls</span>, and a host of&nbsp;other musical greats. Sam had already been recognized on the Bronzeville <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_7" style="border-bottom: 2px dotted rgb(54, 99, 136); cursor: pointer;">Walk of Fame</span>, but&nbsp;his exclusion on a 35th and State Street mural commemorating famous Bronzeville residents&nbsp;gave&nbsp;me the impetus to&nbsp;make&nbsp;his street naming--a more permanent&nbsp;form of recognition--a reality.</strong></p><p>Q: His music is still appreciated, isn't it? Even my teenage daughters and a couple of their friends are fans.</p><p><strong>A: Good music is eternal and has the ability to transcend all age barriers. Sam adopted a simple, straight-forward songwriting&nbsp;style, and he wrote songs the common man could relate to.&nbsp;As a result, his music is timeless--easily appreciated and&nbsp;understood&nbsp;by all ages and&nbsp;generations. This type of pure simplicity is a long-lost art form.</strong></p><p>Q: What will tomorrow's street-renaming ceremony look like?</p><p><strong>A:<em> </em>Sam's street naming ceremony&nbsp;will consist of recognizing Sam's legacy and the importance of this particular street by&nbsp;myself, my cousin Eugene Jamison who will speak on behalf of the Cook&nbsp;family, Bronzeville political representatives, and&nbsp;Gregg Parker, CEO of the<a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/entertainment&amp;id=7683801"> Chicago Blues Museum</a>. I formally met Gregg after the street naming had been approved&nbsp;by the&nbsp;<span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_8" style="border-bottom: 2px dotted rgb(54, 99, 136); cursor: pointer;">Chicago City Council</span>, and his musical&nbsp;interest in&nbsp;Sam and the Bronzeville&nbsp;neighborhood fueled the event to its current prominence.&nbsp;A City of Chicago proclamation will be read, and local&nbsp;celebrities may be on the program as well.</strong></p><p>Q: One last question. For decades there has been talk of a Sam Cooke movie. If one were made, who'd play Sam?</p><p><strong>A:</strong> <strong>Ever since Sam's death, talk of a movie based on his life has heated up&nbsp;on several occasions only to fizzle out and go nowhere, and&nbsp;"Who&nbsp;should play <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_9" style="border-bottom: 2px dotted rgb(54, 99, 136); cursor: pointer;">Sam Cooke</span>?" is&nbsp;an age-old question that's been&nbsp;kicked around by&nbsp;Sam Cooke fans&nbsp;for generations.&nbsp;In the early 70s, talk of <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_10">Marvin&nbsp;Gaye</span>&nbsp;portraying Sam was squashed when&nbsp;Gaye declared himself not worthy of the honor.&nbsp;Actors from <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_11" style="cursor: pointer; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent;">Blair Underwood</span> to <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_12" style="cursor: pointer; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent;">Denzel Washington</span> to <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_13">Will Smith</span> have been discussed more recently, but because Sam died at&nbsp;33,&nbsp;these actors have invariably grown too old.&nbsp;Having been fooled by the several false-starts over the years, I've stopped speculating as to who could play Sam on the silver screen, but still smile at some of the suggestions.</strong></p><p>And before we go, dig this: Sam Cooke singing Bob Dylan's <em>Blowing in the Wind.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/PBDdLgBO0Nw" width="480" frameborder="0" height="390"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 17 Jun 2011 13:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-06-17/aint-good-news-singer-sam-cooke-gets-street-renamed-his-honor-87997