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Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers
By Pete Johnson:
One of the things I love about my day job in music distribution is the amount of time one has to spend in music stores. I love doing inventories. When I was an assistant sales rep for Ryko, I was hired without a whole lot of real experience. They gave me a shot and I was not going to blow it. So I figured out if I did thorough and frequent inventories I would be able to make a good case for bringing in more product to replace what had sold, faster. This led to more sales. More security for me. Many days I spent in Tower or HMV, digging through the bins. This allows you to hear a whole lot of music. One day at HMV; I am doing my thing and my ear keeps on being drawn to what is playing over the system. It sounded so good.
Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers were an American gospel music group, whose career spans over eighty years
The singer had such a great voice, the songs were great. So, I asked one of my fave questions in music. Who is this? I found out it was Sam Cooke’s first group, the Soul Stirrer’s. When you hear Sam sing the beginning of Jesus Wash Away My Troubles, you know you are listening to the sanctified. It gives me chills every time. The rhythm of the singing in the ensemble sense intrigued me, I never realized to that degree what the voices represented in the delivery of a song. It was like its own glorious horn section, made of voices and words. Blew my mind and made me think differently about vocals.
I love the accompaniment of the actual instruments. Simple and effective. Designed not to get in the way of the message. When I got into Curtis Mayfield, later on, I realized how much he stole from the Soul Stirrers. Sam left the Stirrers and was replaced by future R&B Legend Johnny Taylor later on. I distributed a ton of Johnny Taylor on Malaco, for Select-o-Hits. Knowing the history of this group helped me much in business. I love Just Another Day. I love Come and Go to That Land. Actually, I love it all. Just go buy the record and thank me and the Lord later. ;o)