- This is a great sounding Lou Rawls album, and this copy is guaranteed to knock you out with its Shootout Winning Triple Plus sound
- This early Stereo Capitol LP brought Sam Cooke’s most famous songs to life, with the kind of vocal presence and tubey richness that no other copy could offer
- There are a lot of bad sounding Lou Rawls records out there, but this hidden gem is not one of them – not only is the sound superb, but Lou’s done his old pal Sam proud with wonderfully heartfelt versions of some of his best songs
- It’s incredibly difficult to find big, bold, lively sound like this for any Lou Rawls title, but here it is!
- On side two, a mark makes 7 moderate to light pops at the beginning of track 3, Somebody Have Mercy.
This vintage Capitol pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with Lou and the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the best sides of Bring It On Home have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1970
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
What We’re Listening For on Bring It On Home
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Bring It On Home
Another Saturday Night
Can You Dig It (Monologue)
Take Me For What I Am
Win Your Love
What Makes The Ending So Sad
Somebody Have Mercy
Coppin’ A Plea (Monologue)
Lou Rawls and Sam Cooke, Musical Brothers
Roy Black writes:
As we exit the month of December 2016 and move into January 2017, we again remember the enormous contributions that Lou Rawls and Sam Cooke made to popular music internationally and the strange coincidences that dominated their lives.
Both months are of particular significance to both men, and in a very unique way, too: the month in which Cooke died (December) is the month in which Rawls was born, and conversely, the month in which Rawls died (January), is the month in which Cooke was born.
It was a strange phenomenon, especially when one considers that they were the best of friends.
It all began when they grew up as childhood friends in Chicago, Illinois. Rawls was born there on December 1, 1933, while Cooke moved there from his birthplace in Mississippi, with his parents as a two-year old in the year that Rawls was born. Both men sang as children in the hand-clapping spirit-filled churches of their respective parents, and as a result, had very deep gospel backgrounds.
The similarity and closeness in their upbringing continued through high school. As classmates, they rehearsed gospel songs together and later performed at churches and auditoriums across the country with the Pilgrim Travelers and Soul Stirrers gospel groups. Their voices were, however, miles apart, with Rawls emitting a deep husky baritone and Cooke, a smooth crystalline high-tenor.
Cooke in particular, began to attract legions of female fans to his concerts, and in short order was becoming something like a sex symbol as he gave stirring renditions of Nearer To Thee, Be With Me Jesus, and Touch The Hem Of His Garment.
Rawls, in the meantime, portrayed himself as a preacher of sorts in his early performances but was more of the philosophical type. His later recordings reflected this: One Life To Live; What’s The Matter With The World, Has The World Gone Mad; If I Coulda Woulda Shoulda.
With a voice that was beyond the ordinary, Cooke was encouraged to get into secular music as it offered greater financial rewards. Cautiously optimistic, he made the move, doing his first set of secular recordings under the name Dale Cooke so as not to offend his gospel followers.
Both men got into secular music just about the same time in the late 1950s. But just before that, a serious motor vehicle accident nearly ended their careers and their lives. They were travelling in the same motor vehicle on a tour of the south with the Pilgrim Travellers when the incident occurred. One passenger was killed, Cooke was slightly injured, and Rawls was pronounced dead by a doctor on the way to the hospital. Luckily, Rawls had slipped into a coma, which lasted five and a half days. He suffered memory loss and didn’t completely recover for a year. Rawls’ recording of One Life To Live, some years later, seems to echo his thoughts about the accident, while his first hit, Love Is A Hurting Thing, reveals the haunting side effects of a love affair. Similarly, Cooke’s first hit, You Send Me, touched on the topic as he sang:
“At first I thought it was infatuation
But wooh, it lasted so long.”
Two years before Cooke’s death on December 11, 1964, he recorded in duet with Rawls, the everlastingly popular Bring It On Home To Me. They were at their best as they sang:
“If you ever change your mind
About leaving, leaving me behind
Baby bring it to me, bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me.”
Rawls died on January 6, 2006.