Sam Cooke – Live at the Harlem Square Club (1963)
If the true mark of a live recording leaves a listener saying “wish I was there,” this one delivers.
It’s a party from start to finish.
As a guitar player, I enjoy unconventional chord patterns. This one rarely deviates from the basic four: I,IV,V,VI. At first, I was slightly disappointed. And then I realized, nothing quite gets a party going like a challenging song structure!
In this case, the predictability helps achieve the main goal: filling the dance floor. With the audible audience reaction to upbeat tunes like Twistin’ the Night Away, it’s safe to say the crowd wasn’t just seated, politely applauding at the conclusion of each song.
The nine-song set is short & sweet, still sounding fresh 50 years after the show took place. It continues to be in the rotation (well beyond the requisite listens) at home as an ideal meal prep soundtrack.