While Peter Guralnick’s new biography of Sam Cooke, Dream Boogie, is close to definitive, I’ll confess I struggled through the book’s first third, largely concerned with the pop-soul icon’s career-establishing gospel work, in order to savor the remaining 400 pages devoted to his secular success. No, gospel has never been my thing. I appreciate its power and glory, but it simply doesn’t stir my heathen soul. If, however, gospel brightens your corner, you would be hard-pressed to find a better collection of classic tracks than this 18-track compilation co-produced by one-time Atlantic Records cronies Joel Dorn and Lee Friedlander.
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