Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Sam Cooke - Legend|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Studio: Uni Dist Corp (music) Release Date: 03/03/2009
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Harley P. Payette | Phillipsburg, New Jersey United States | 06/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No serious rock or pop fan should be without this excellent biography. Written by Peter Guralnick and featuring spectacular interviews with many Cooke intimates like Bobby Womack, Aretha Franklin, brother LC, and Lou Rawls this documentary, that originally appeared on VH1 in a truncated form, gets to the heart of who Cooke was. Many fans are familiar with Cooke's spectacular singing but few know of the important role he played in the Civil Rights Movement. We find out here that he was one of the first, if not THE first, artists to refuse to play to segregated audiences. We find out how he was one of the first prominent African-Americans to let his hair grow natural instead of slicking it down to appear white. We find out about the record company he started to help young African-Americans, who might be passed over by the majors, get a chance. We find out that Cooke was one of the first performers in all of pop music to acquire ownership of his own recordings (still unheard of today).But the real meat here focuses on Cooke's mastery as a musician. The amazingly perceptive interviews manage to explain not only Cooke's importance in both gospel and pop but actually contain insight into how he did it. Plus there's a slew of great performance footage of Cooke singing classics like "Twistin' the Night Away", "The Riddle Song", "You Send Me" and a funny, lip synched duet with Jackie Wilson on "Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha". Plus, there's some great film of Cooke hanging out with Muhammed Ali including the two harmonizing on "The Gang's All Here". Cooke was a crucial influence on Ali's life and thinking.The DVD also contains some worthy extras. There are more than two hours of worth of expanded interviews. Plus there's a discography and a bio. Sadly, however there is no extra performance footage not even of his classic performance of "A Change is Gonna Come" from the Tonight Show (which is not in the documentary either).The lack of music is the DVD's chief flaw. However, the documentary has some flaws as well. The most glaring is the way it glosses over Cooke's relationship with the controversial manager Allen Klein. This isn't surprising when you consider that Klein's company ABKCO is the producer of the DVD. More damaging is the fact that it's too short. Though this version, at an hour and ten minutes, is longer than the VH1 documentary by almost a half hour, it's still too short to cover all of the events in a monumental life like Cooke's in the detail they deserve. For instance, Cooke's initial record contract and his later signing with RCA go by in a blur with little explanation. His appointment to the leadership of the Soul Stirrers gets similar short shrift. Fortunately, you can find this information in Daniel Wolff's wonderful Cooke bio "You Send Me". Oustide of a book store though this is the best bio you'll find. Given the limitations the producers were under this is is a wonderful introduction and explanation of the man and his music."
Finally some moving pictures!
M. Buisman | Amsterdam, NL | 11/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For someone with the stature of Sam Cooke is has always surprised me how little was out there about him. Before 2000 even good CD's and LP's were hard to get. But things have changed since the beginning of this century. VH1 had a special about him and that documentary has now been released on DVD.
Through interviews with family and friends we get a view of his life from an early age, through the Soul Stirrers and his solo work up to his unfortunate death.
We see and hear his brother and sister, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls and many more. The docu has been written by Peter Guralnick who has just released a 650 page biography on him in october of 2005.
There is also some footage of Sam in action in various tv-shows and that is the best because there really isn't much around. It would have been nice to add those shows in total as a bonus but the 70 minutes of documentary we have now is perfect for people who don't want to be one of the two extensive biographies yet but want to get a good view of what he was like. And he was more than just the interpreter of songs. He wrote them, produced other artists and was an allround business man.
Of course his death is being talked about too, but don't expect the final solution for that, that will probably never come.
It's the only real documentary on him out there but it's worth buying."
Essential for Cooke fans, but glossed over.
AnotherMusicExpert | Duluth, MN USA | 07/21/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As overdue, essential & welcome as this DVD documentary is for Sam Cooke fans, let me explain why I give it 3 stars.
Nice vintage footage included, and the first time for me to see Sam in action. On the negative side:
First, in typical A&E fashion, the majority of interviewed segments are total fluff..."he had so much charisma, the room would erupt, people went crazy, he was the complete package, I never knew anyone else like him, I knew he had something special" blah blah blab that you hear in every A&E biography of a deceased star. We know all that, he was great. There is no negativity whatsoever, yet minimal substance at the same time.
Two: length. Get the expanded edition or you're stuck with a quick 1 hour show.
Three: total gloss over of his death. Look on the internet for the more in-depth story of the shooting. They skim over this occurance without much dirt on why the married Sam Cooke had a woman back at his room anyway, and why a woman pulled a trigger on such a seemingly otherwise perfect guy.
Four: if you are going to license the minimal TV footage of him in existence, it would be nice to not have it talked over, and so brief. I would prefer to see the uncut footage as a DVD extra feature, not 2 hours of repeated story interviews instead. I want to SEE the man perform, not hear about it second hand.
Otherwise, a good product in a nutshell, but I feel it is also far from complete or as good as it could have been."
About time Sam's fans had this sort of thing to enjoy
A C SHIELDS | melbourne , australia | 10/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My only reservation with this program is that I would have liked to have more on the circumstances behind Sam's death .
He was very influential as a singer and business person , but he was also a man . That may have been too much for certain people to stomach .
The fact that the program features interviews with Sam's family shows that it has been approved - that can also mean that it is a whitewash , sanitised for public consumption .
That is a fine line to walk .
Just like the Kennedy assassination , one gets the feeling that there is still more to be told . I believe the writer Peter Guralnick is writing a book on Sam and if it is anything like his books on Elvis , it will be compellng reading .
A great program and worth watching whether or not you are a fan of this wonderful singer who may have never reached his true potential ."