The razor-sharp division between sacred and secular was no mystery to Cooke, a preacher's son who had been called upon in 1950 to replace the legendary Rebert H. Harris. The Complete Specialty Recordings gathers the bulk of Cooke's work with the Soul Stirrers, charting his phenomenal growth as a lead singer and the ensemble's tectonic shift to electric guitars and gospel composers like Alex Bradford. This three-CD set will come as a blessing to fans of classic shout-and-holler gospel, as well as to Cooke aficionados, who will go gaga over the handful of secular singles that Specialty allowed him to record in a desperate effort to forestall his defection. All these decades later, both styles -- the love songs and the liturgical ones -- sound simply heavenly.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.