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Friday, April 27, 2007

Someone bring it on home, already :: Sam Cooke gets covered

"Bring It On Home To Me" is probably my favorite song that Sam Cooke ever penned and recorded. Even though it's self-flagellating sad sap fare, it always sounds to me like slow dancing barefoot on a dusty front porch somewhere. I am not alone in my love.

Spurred on by the recent cover that Britt Daniel (of Austin band Spoon) contributed to the Bridging The Distance album, I decided to borrow a page from Dodge and started investigating the high points and travesties in the history of covers of "Bring It On Home To Me." The versions are legion. The good ones . . . are few. It's nearly impossible to improve upon the original, so I was pretty hard to please with these.

Bring It On Home To Me - The Animals
(in their distinctive rising sun style)
Bring It On Home To Me - Britt Daniel (of Spoon) (clapping, egg shaker, minimalist)
Bring It On Home To Me - Eddie Floyd (big bassline, flirty keys, that Stax sound)
Bring It On Home To Me - Otis Redding & Carla Thomas (worth it just to hear Otis sing "bring your little self --fine foxy self-- on home")
Bring It On Home To Me - The Ramones (live, more sedate than I'd think - no "1234!")
Bring It On Home To Me - Rory Gallagher (wailing fuzzy Stratocasters and blues harp)
Bring It On Home To Me -The Von Bondies (winsome garage-girl rock)
You Really Got A Hold On Me/Bring It On Home To Me - The Zombies (hey, that's smoooth)

Bring It On Home To Me/Oh! Darlin - The Beatles
(snippet in studio, A/B Road, 1-27-69)
Bring It On Home To Me - Paul McCartney (from his Choba B CCCP album)
Bring It On Home To Me/Send Me Some Lovin' - John Lennon (fantastic)
Bring It On Home To Me/Remember - George Harrison (messing around in the studio)

Bring It On Home To Me - The Big Three
Bring It On Home To Me - The Merseybeats

Bring It On Home To Me - Al Christian
(Georgia harmonica & gospel soul)
Bring It On Home To Me - Aretha Franklin (bring that big band)
Bring It On Home To Me - Back Porch Blues (sleepy harmonica and female vocals)
Bring It On Home To Me - Ben Mills
Bring It On Home To Me - Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band

Bring It On Home To Me - The Commitments (from the movie)
Bring It On Home To Me - Cool Jerks
Bring It On Home To Me - Dave Mason (of Traffic)
Bring It On Home To Me - Diana Ross & The Supremes
(too cloying and sappy - no angst!)
Bring It On Home To Me - Dixie Chicks (pre-Natalie Maines, very twangy)
Bring It On Home To Me - The Drifters
Bring It On Home To Me - George Benson & Al Jarreau
(contemporary gospel/soul-lite)
Bring It On Home To Me - James Cotton
Bring It On Home To Me - Lou Rawls
Bring It On Home To Me -
Louisiana Red (dirty straight blues)
Bring It On Home To Me - Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels (beautiful guitar intro)
Bring It On Home To Me - Percy Sledge
Bring It On Home To Me - Robson & Jerome
Bring It On Home To Me/You Send Me - Rod Stewart & Faces
Bring It On Home To Me - Sam & Dave (brassy Stax soul)
Bring It On Home To Me - Shirley Ellis (as we would expect, peppy and clappy)
Bring It On Home To Me (live) - Van Morrison (yeah, not so fond of this one, Van)
Bring It On Home To Me - Wilson Pickett
Bring It On Home To Me - Zoot Money's Big Roll Band
Bring It On Home To Me - ZZ Hill
(add a little rasp to it)

Bring It On Home To Me - Cornell Campbell
Bring It On Home To Me - Jimmy Clarke

Bring It On Home To Me - Michael Bolton
(no comment)
Bring It On Home To Me - Millie Small (deviant chipmunks on crack?)
Bring It On Home To Me - Rita Coolidge (Waaay too pretty and sappy)
Bring It On Home To Me - Rita MacNeil (0 for 2 on the Ritas. Showy gospel vocals that grate me)
Bring It On Home To Me - Sonny & Cher (because it's Sonny and Cher)

. . . But the grandpappy OG sweet fantastic:

Bring It On Home To Me - Sam Cooke

Bring It On Home To Me (live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963) - Sam Cooke

(I think that the first time I heard this version was the first time I realized Sam Cooke wasn't all sweetness, smoothness, and Cupid)

After screening all these cover versions, all I really want is Sam.
Dang, what a flawless song.

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At April 27, 2007 4:56 PM, Blogger Paul said...

the originals are always the best

At April 27, 2007 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up thinking this was a Mickey Gilley song.

At April 27, 2007 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just recently added some Sam Cooke to my collection and I just thought it was crazy that you go and post all of these covers of what has become my favorite song of his. This song was actually the whole reason why I decided to explore his music more. It's kind of funny because I was wondering if you did enjoy his music, question answered. Thank you so much for this post! And I definitely agree, no one can come close to Sam on this one!

At April 27, 2007 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always have loved Sam Cooke...go back to Adventures In Babysitting...1987 and I remember they played it at the end.

Is the live version from the opening credits of Ali?

At April 27, 2007 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the magic timeliness of "Bring It On Home" is the universal pang of regret, yearning, and repentence. Sam's studio version vocalizes all three. Who doesn't have at least one of those memories skulking around?

All the others remind me of what Tom Waits said about listening to another's song..."We're" basically looking through somebody elses photo album.

...with the "surprising" exception of The Zombies "You Really Got a Hold On Me"/Bring It On Home". That's the only cover I would dip and sway amidst the paper lanterns.

Thank you for the labor of love songs.

At April 27, 2007 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I paused watching "V for Vendetta" to check this out. This is one epic post. Kudos are not enough, very well done. It's got to be noted that Lou Rawls sings the harmony lines on Sam's original. Also, Millie Small's British invasion hit, "My Boy Lollipop" features Rod Stewart on harmonica.
You are right, Sam rules.

At April 27, 2007 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. The first version I had ever heard was by the Animals. I then "discovered" Sam's original and that was it for me. If you get a chance, you might want to check out Ted Hawkins' version on his "Love You Most of All" album.

At April 27, 2007 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another interesting version is the one by Sam's younger brother L.C. which he released on a tribute album in 1965.

At April 27, 2007 10:37 PM, Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Forever Rory. Rory Forever.

At April 27, 2007 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a post! Thanks.

At April 27, 2007 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee did a nice folkish version on their 1973 "Sonny and Brownie" LP.

At April 27, 2007 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bring It On Home was actually written by Charles Brown. Sam Cooke caught Charles performing it in a club in the Southeast and told him he wanted to record it with him next time he was in LA.

The date was set, but Charles was addicted to playing the ponies and canceled the session so he could go to the horse track. Lou Rawls filled in, Sam made a few changes and the rest was history:

Charles Brown: I Want To Go Home - 2.31MB

At April 28, 2007 5:37 AM, Blogger Brendan said...

The first version of it I heard was by Sister Hazel. Not sure how it compares to the covers you've posted, but I certainly like it! :] Can't remember which album it's off, possibly the self-titled. Anyway, I shall have a listen to the original and compare. Thank you!

At April 28, 2007 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Here is a good version from the Hotel Cafe a while back. The only people I have heard of in it are Gavin Degraw (who has done a number of, in my opinion, great Sam Cooke covers) and Tony Lucca. Annoying crowd noise but worth checking out.

At April 28, 2007 9:07 AM, Blogger The Jacket said...

No additional notes on Robson & Jerome? Probably for the best.

At April 28, 2007 10:05 AM, Blogger aikin said...

yeah - Sam Cooke's original is always the best, although some of the others are, ummmm, interesting.

Crazy props, though just for the time and research that must have gone into gathering all these songs!

At April 28, 2007 12:07 PM, Blogger Philco Brothers said...

The first version I ever heard was by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. I believe it was on PBS Soundstage. I think it was a pretty good show too.

At April 28, 2007 1:15 PM, Blogger Dodge said...

dizzzang! You made me proud. Awesome song, one of my favorites as well. Blog Mistress, you are worth the trouble always.

At April 28, 2007 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow.. I had seriously never heard that song before.. I thought you were talking about Bring It On Home by Sonny Boy Williamson :P

me so uncult!! ahah

At April 28, 2007 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG!! I love the John Lennon version.

At April 28, 2007 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for all those crazy covers! This is also my very favorite Sam Cooke song, lame-ish lyrics and all.

At April 28, 2007 5:09 PM, Blogger Jeff C. said...

Fantastic! Sam Cooke's always a good choice.

At April 28, 2007 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, so whose listened to all of them?

At April 28, 2007 5:17 PM, Blogger heather said...

Sigh. I did.


At April 28, 2007 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I'd rate the Back Porch Blues version way above "eh." Great voice, with a sly, knowing tone that escalates to a punch at the end. I'm also partial to the Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee version that an earlier poster mentioned; the song just works well as country blues. The versions by Otis Redding & Carla Thomas and Rory Gallagher that you like sound way too overwrought to me. Oh well, something for everybody.

At April 28, 2007 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh Ooh pick me...pick me. I listened to all of them and tried to locate the Southside Johnny version which I remember dancing to. They've done a fair amount of Sam's songs. Off on a tangent, I just loaned my James Hunter cd out to a friend.

The George Harrison "jam" was a repeated treasure.

I would love Amy to take a crack at it.

At April 28, 2007 7:07 PM, Blogger wwjblog said...

this post is INSANE!!!

At April 28, 2007 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since Heather mentioned the Live At The Harlem Square Club version of Bring It On Home To Me, which is as intense as anything Sam did in the secular field, I've gotta go slightly off track to make sure anyone who is interested in Sam has checked out his work with the Soul Stirrers before he crossed over. Particularly their three song set from the 1955 Shrine Concert in L.A.

If you are fortunate enough to hear it keep in mind they are singing accompanied only by a muted guitar and there's just one mic picking up their voices as well as the crowd, but you will never ever hear anything as powerful as this. They close with an epic eight and a half minute "Nearer To Thee" which will absolutely detonate your soul as Sam and Paul Foster trade back and forth until it sounds like they - and the audience - will explode. If anyone thinks that Sam was all "pretty" singing, then obviously they haven't heard this. To call it "hard rock" would be an understatement, they get more intensity out of their voices alone than all the Marshall Amp stacks in the world cranked to ten could ever produce.

You can get these tracks on the 3 disc Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers Complete Specialty Recordings box, or the whole concert (with other gospel acts) on a disc called Gospel Stars In Concert. If you are a Sam fan, you need these or life isn't complete.

At April 29, 2007 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great post for me. I collect covers and love finding batches like this, particularly with the original included. Thanks loads.

At April 29, 2007 4:23 PM, Blogger Anthony said...

Fantastic post. This has always been one of my favorite songs. Have to disagree with the Van Morrison cover. I happen to enjoy it.

At April 29, 2007 5:19 PM, Blogger R.M. said...

Great song and very cool list. Sam Cooke is one of top three singers of the second half of the twentieth century for my money. Him and Otis Redding and Freddie Mercury, it doesn't get much better than those guys.

The Von Bondies one is really awful though. "White people have no soul" is a cliche at this point, but this is where it comes from. You can hear her just singing the words because those are the words to the song, without having any idea what she is actually saying or why. Ugh.

At April 29, 2007 8:14 PM, Blogger Bruce said...

Okay. You win. You have the most toys. Wow. What a post. Deserving of a Pulitzer.

At April 30, 2007 12:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing post, you are an old soul

At April 30, 2007 2:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I don't know if you feel good with other countries' music as well as these you love. If yes, I can share much of them with you.

At April 30, 2007 6:43 AM, Blogger heather said...

mescking, the Van cover starts lovely, but I found it distracting the way he started to rapidfire spit out the lines like he got stuck or something - "leavinamebehinda...."

And Ali, I'd love to hear any recommendations from other countries. Do you mean foreign language covers of this song?

At April 30, 2007 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Them's the yearning blues - getting through them as the sun shines on a blissful Monday night in the u of k but do I have to do Michael Bolton? Loved the louche Zombies......

At April 30, 2007 2:10 PM, Blogger Chad said...

I had NO idea there were this many versions of this song. But, like you, I prefer Sam Cooke's version over any other.

This has been one of my favorite songs in the world for several years now. Your description of it in the opening paragraphs is spot on.

Fantastic post, Heather. :)

At May 01, 2007 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I simply adore Sam Cooke, and this is one of my favorites of his, him and sweet Lou, good stuff. I do agre with Samson about his work with the Soul Stirrers. It's raw, passionate, and the best stuff he ever did. Most of the secular stuff doesn't even compare.

At May 02, 2007 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the TED HAWKINS version? excellent voice!

At May 06, 2007 11:03 AM, Blogger BigJB said...

Props for the thoroughness of your post. I always seem to like the originals anyway, except for Dylan.

At May 09, 2007 1:19 PM, Blogger Soulman said...

I am guy from Belgium in Europe, and guess, I am a fan of Sam Cooke for a long time, so, I just want to tell you that you have done a nice job, collection all those covers on one page, thanks a lot for that !
I newly starte a blog myself, it is all about Soulmusic, but I think I did some things wrong, so I am not sur if you can see it, my blogname is 'Popcornmarket'
Nice regards for a Soulman.

At May 13, 2007 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heather: you sure brought it on home and fried it up in a pan.

FYI, Carta Thomas her sweet sexy self did an answer song -- "I'LL BRING IT ON HOME TO YOU" find the MP3 on the WFMU blog -- http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2005/08/spazzy_answer_s.html

-- although I prefer 'Big Bad Wolf' in that bunch of answer songs ...

also, I think Dave Marsh might have included one of the versions in his book "The Heart of Rock n Soul."


At May 25, 2007 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to compare & discover the singing style of different singers!

At May 28, 2007 9:03 AM, Blogger camden said...

The live version of Sam sining gives my skin chills. Love it. Thank you!

At October 05, 2007 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I'm late, I just discovered this page...

Your list isn't complete, you forgot:
- Carla Thomas (alone, without Otis, the song is called 'I'll bring it on home to you)
- Kilowatts (jamaican stuff, with Lyn Taitt & the Jets)

At November 03, 2007 6:51 PM, Blogger Dad/Rob said...

How do you do that?

At November 21, 2007 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Sam's great-nephew and the author of "Our Uncle Sam: The Sam Cooke Story From His Family's Perspective" (www.ourunclesam.com), it's good to see one of my favorite Sam Cooke songs given the love it deserves in a blog. This song is timeless, and the various covers show I'm not the only one that thinks so. Great choice!

At December 07, 2007 3:05 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

A truly great music blog entry. Thanks.

At January 17, 2008 5:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At January 17, 2008 10:04 PM, Blogger susan said...

I am in awe of you.

At May 26, 2008 10:42 AM, Blogger taawd said...

Truly one of my favorite songs of all time. It's got Gospel, Funk, Soul, R&B and raw energy. Pair up Sam Cooke and Lou Rawls together anytime and you get an awesome sound. Were the Bangles the only group that hasn't covered this song?

At August 06, 2008 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam Cook was great.
and I love this site.

But I have a question

What is this?

I see Rock Blues guitar player,GW Williams name is everywhere.
Really? It's everywhere,whats up with that?

His name is in press releases,on blogs,forums,on radio and in the news.
He's selling on Amazon.com and itunes and on Sony records I think.
My question is where did this guitar freak come from?

What makes him one of the greatest top 10 guitar players ever,since he's only been selling music for 8 months about?
What about Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan?
Instead all I hear about is GW Williams.
I must admit he has several songs that could top the charts, like - Beyond The Clouds and Electric Son Rise and I guess his gospel song, On Easter Morning ,gots the hots in the church world also.
But I rather hear about the old guitar stars.

It's just I think to be a guitar superstar you need to be around a few years first.
Understand I am not trying to knock the guy, but Gezzzzzz, he's all over the Internet and everywhere I look these days?

Thanks Sally Frenchbrae
If you don't know what I am talking about check the link below for your self and do some research !!

P.S. Here's GW Williams rock, blues Guitar site. - GW Williams Rock,Blues Guitar

At September 02, 2008 10:18 AM, Blogger Ben The Balladeer said...

Great post. Great Blog.


I always loved this song, to me not his best one, but what makes it special is the second voice of Lou Rawls in the background,which gives the song an extra dimension.
When I was 14 I gave his The Best Album to a cousin as a birthday present. Sam Cooke is in my music genes.

At September 22, 2008 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Heather -

great post. Do you have any idea when the Lennon version was recorded?


At December 30, 2008 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam Cooke is number one. The other versions simply reminds my family and I that Sam Cooke is simply the best. Sam Cooke is and always will be the greatest. If Sam sang we want to hear it. Sam is still the man.

At February 23, 2009 6:31 PM, Blogger Maherchandise said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At February 23, 2009 6:34 PM, Blogger Maherchandise said...

I just downloaded all of these.

A few weeks ago I was in a small record store while visiting sf. After an hour I found the sam cooke live at harlem square club vinyl and only had 10 dollars left for food before I went home so I pulled off the $19.99 price tag and put on a $8.99 price tag while the guy working was talking on the phone about making his birthday party the biggest rave ever. I was proud of myself. and then when I was sitting down in the bart station I pulled it out to read and drool over it and somebody came up to me and said "that is an amazing record, I have it at home." It got me really exited to come home and put it on.

Thanks a ton for posting these!


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