Following the recent announcement of the 24 January release of Sam Cooke’s The Complete Keen Years (1957-1960) box set, comes news that the first three original albums in the set will each be reissued on vinyl on the same date. All the releases form part of ABKCO’s year-long celebration of what would have been Cooke’s 90th birthday on 22 January 2021.
The albums for individual reissue, each as a single vinyl LP, begin with his self-titled set of January 1958. Also known as Songs By Sam Cooke, it reached No. 16 on Billboard’s Best-Selling Pop LPs chart and is presented in its original mono mix. The album includes Cooke’s signature ‘You Send Me’ as well as ‘Summertime (Part 2),’ ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’,’ ‘That Lucky Old Sun’ and ‘Danny Boy.’
Encore, which followed later the same year in November 1958, spotlights Cooke singing such standards as ‘Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive,’ ‘When I Fall In Love,’ ‘I Cover the Waterfront’ and ‘The Gypsy.’ Otis ‘Bumps’ Blackwell provided production and orchestral backing, as on the first Keen album.
1959’s Billie Holiday, Tribute to The Lady, kept up Cooke’s prolific output when it was released that April. Arranged & conducted by Rene Hall, it includes his readings of such songs forever associated with Lady Day such as ‘God Bless The Child,’ ‘I’ve Gotta Right To Sing The Blues,’ ‘Good Morning, Heartache’ and ‘Crazy She Calls Me.’
As reported, the box set anthologises Cooke’s body of work of close to three years for John and Alex Siamas’s Keen label, after he started to release secular material. The newly remastered box highlights the unrivalled versatility with which the singer remade standards in his inimitable way and wrote his own unforgettable original music.
Sam Cooke’s The Complete Keen Years (1957-1960) box set and the individual vinyl reissues of Sam Cooke, Encore and Billie Holiday, Tribute to The Lady are out on 24 January 2020. Pre-order them here.