Picks and Pans Review: Sam Cooke's Sar Records Story

UPDATED 01/23/1995 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/23/1995 at 01:00 AM EST

Various Artists

Two years after he made the leap from gospel crooner to pop star with his 1957 Top 40 hit "You Send Me," the late Sam Cooke became the first black musician to form his own label: SAR Records. While Cooke proceeded to record hit after hit of his own for RCA, he used SAR to nurture the careers of numerous musicians, including Bobby Womack, Johnnie Taylor and Billy Preston, who helped forge the amalgam of spirituality and sensuality that came to be known as soul music. This two-CD set runs the gamut from the Soul Stirrers' worshipful "Jesus Be a Fence Around Me" to the Valentinos' funky "It's All Over Now," which was later a hit for the Rolling Stones. Most of the sessions were personally produced by Cooke and bear witness to his belief that even pop music could be a sanctified art form. (ABKCO)

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