The Supremes We Remember Sam Cooke

The Supremes – We Remember Sam Cooke (Limited Edition Vinyl Review)

While much of the 1960s music charts were dominated by The Beatles, how many are aware that The Supremes popularity tailed right behind them? That is right, not only are The Supremes the best-selling girl groups of all time, but rank as the 26th greatest artist ever on the US Billboard charts. Lofty accolades, the ladies out of the motor city of Detroit blazed a path that made them iconic superstars in R&B, Soul, and popular music in general. Led by the charismatic voice of Diana Ross, the trio most classically recognized as The Supremes was rounded out by the exceptionally talented Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson. At this point, with Diana Ross the only living member remaining (with Ballard sadly passing at only 32 years of age in 1976, and Wilson recently departing at 76 in 2021), it is important to recall their imperative contributions.

That is why it comes with tremendous excitement to learn that many of The Supremes’ classic albums are being reissued to vinyl in 2024. A part of Elemental Music’s new Motown Sound Collection (which will have an expansion of titles released through the year), kicking off the celebration as one of the first reissues is The Supremes’ We Remember Sam Cooke. Put out there to a standard black vinyl color on May 10th, this new pressing is on heavy 140-gram virgin vinyl. Curious what this means? Well, it just means the vinyl used is free of any recycled materials and 100% pure, thus giving you a really crisp sound. Knowing this, you get to experience each of the original eleven recordings in their full dynamic glory… and it sounds wonderful.

Beyond these, this reissue also brings to light several other interesting bits of information. Looking back, by the time this album was recorded The Supremes had already solidified themselves with a string of number 1 hits such “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” and “Come See About Me,” all in 1964 alone! From here, the ladies interestingly put out a A Bit of Liverpool (also in ’64) where they covered everyone from The Beatles to The Dave Clark Five, before exploring Country some on their early ’65 album The Supremes Sing Country, Western and Pop.

Showcasing an ability to be amorphous and freely offshoot in various directions, within a blink of an eye after their Country tribute record, they put out We Remember Sam Cooke. Originally released on April 12th in 1965, the decision to record the Cooke album seemed fitting; considering that Sam Cooke tragically died just a few months earlier in December of 1964. A loss that is still marred with mystery decades since, The Supremes quickly honored the greatness of Sam Cooke with their recordings of some of his most beloved songs. A set that includes “You Send Me,” “Cupid,” and “Chain Gange,” they do a sensational job of staying true to the feel of Cooke’s originals, but all while giving each rendition a signature Supremes’ touch. Furthermore, it is also special to recognize this collection includes the posthumous Sam Cooke classic “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Arguably one of his best, most passionate songs ever, his original was actually not even put out to the public until right after his untimely death. Rather sad and unfortunate, immediately recognizing how strong the song truly was, The Supremes recorded it themselves… and let us just say it is quite a moving listen.

Overall, We Remember Sam Cooke is a lovely record that not only celebrates the legacy one of Soul music’s most important figures, but shows you just how talented The Supremes were at translating songs with class. The first of a list of selections that Elemental Music will be reissuing, be on the look out for 1966’s I Hear a Symphony’s green vinyl edition (out July 12th), 1968’s Love Child edition (out September 13th), plus the mono edition of 1964’s A Bit of Liverpool (out on October 11th). Truly a must-have for any collector, Cryptic Rock gives this limited edition release of We Remember Sam Cooke 5 out of 5 stars.

The Supremes We Remember Sam Cooke
The Supremes – We Remember Sam Cooke / Elemental Music (2024)

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