This 1965 compilation is the perfect introduction to the soulful pop of Sam Cooke. It contains all of his best-loved songs in their original versions and represents the wide variety of moods the man conjured with his music. His unique vocal style combined the smooth, tasteful pop approach of Nat King Cole with a grittier, more emotive soul sound.
His compositions brought those two worlds together in a similar manner, the worksong providing fodder for the melodic pop of "Chain Gang," for example. "You Send Me" is the ultimate expression of romantic rapture, while "Sad Mood" is the most mournful of lost-love songs. Somehow, even when capturing a sense of celebration ("Having A Party," "Twistin' The Night Away") there's still a subtle twinge of sadness in Cooke's expressive voice, giving his performances an extra layer of depth.