Friday, November 30, 2007

The Night Beat: I'm Lost And Lookin' For My Baby

Recorded for the Night Beat album in 1963, this song has an utterly compelling quality, as, just embellished by a bass and cymbal, the lilting voice of Sam Cooke perfectly putting across the sensation of a man haunted and put to distraction by love lost.

That is one of the remarkable qualities of Sam Cooke - his lyrics are always so direct. They simply tell you exactly what he wants to say, and his delivery is always meticulously pitched to convince you that he means it.

H W Saxton, writing at BC Music, suggests a similarity here between Sam's singing and that of Reverend Claude Jeter of the Swan Silvertones.

Written by Sam's faithful friend and partner J W Alexander, it was based upon a gospel song Alex had sung. You get the feeling that Sam is so much more comfortable with the material from these sessions. In some ways, Hugo and Luigi were perhaps hoping to package it as a kind of Frank Sinatra after-hours collection, but they too must have sensed that it was more than that. Here was Sam Cooke releasing an album even more firmly rooted in r&b and gospel, divested of the strings and things, and soaring at the top of the mainstream pop market. It was a testament to Sam's achievement and a stake to a claim to respect for black artists that went beyond the next 45. Some see a link between these February 63 sessions and the recording of A Change Is Gonna Come, possibly Sam's most transcendent song, a few months later.

Sam Cooke - Lost And Lookin' (from 'Night Beat' RCA LSP 2709) 1963

Information for this post garnered from Dream Boogie by Peter Guralnick, album liner notes and H W Saxton. Photo scanned from album back cover. Listen to the hiss from the vinyl!

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