Sam Cooke – Having a Party
Sam Cooke began his career singing gospel, first with siblings and later as part of other various groups through the early 1950s. In the second half of that decade, Cooke transitioned to pop music, releasing “Lovable,” his first pop single in 1956. “Having a Party” was recorded in 1961 under his own record label after he had gained significant notoriety. The studio version of this song features Cooke’s clear, soothing voice; something he carried over from his gospel days and a quality his fans adored him for. The live version of the song appeared on “Live at the Harlem Square Club,” recorded in 1963, just one year before his controversial death in December, 1964. In this live cut, a coarseness can be clearly heard in Cooke’s voice, probably as the result of time spent touring and performing live shows. This grittier version of the song exemplifies something closer to rock and roll, and captures Sam Cooke’s true versatility as a singer and performer.