this makes me really happy
oh geez my OCDness LOVES THIS.
he had an obverse world view to mine is what he told me, and i scathingly dismissed that claim as further proof that he had a twisted brain, filled with life-like fantasies, confusing and distorting every real thing that had been created between us.
At first, Cook just scatted: “I know, I know, I know.” Then he started singing, “Darling, you-ou-ou send me,” and White, listening to the note-bending on “you,” thought, well, we got something.
The problem was it just kept repeating. “By now, man, we done eight bars. And I say, how the hell!? Where’s the song? To myself, you know. In eight bars, all he said was ‘Darling, you send me.’ So, I make the turnaround, and he tears out and does the same goddamn thing again! Only instead of saying ‘You send me,’ he says ‘You thrill me.’ Stop and think, man, what this sounds like! I got eight bars of ‘You send me,’ then I get eight bars of ‘You thrill me.’ Okay, then I get to the end, and he does the bridge. Well, that kind of makes sense. I’s got a little story in there, you know? ‘At first, I thought it was infatuation/da da da.’ That’s no sweat. And here he comes with this ‘You send me’ again! This dude,” [Sam Cooke’s guitarist Cliff] White concluded, “must be out of his mind.”
Today, listening to one of rock & roll’s most recognized and most successful songs, it’s easy to see why White was nonplussed. Only through the prodding of Harold Battiste, who screened songs for Blackwell, had Cook even bothered to change the second verse to “You thrill me” from the otherwise endlessly repeating title line. The key to the song was the performance. Bumps would comment later, “Sam was a stylist. He was not a singer … Get that straight … The song could be ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,’ but when Sam Cook did it, it was ‘Ooooo, Mary had a little lamb.
White, Blackwell, Hall, Rupe—the veterans were amazed at how, on a standard set of chord changes, with a minimum amount of words, this man creating a mood of young love, of “infatuation,” which would soon be appealing to millions. “I just thought it was pretty,” Battiste recalls, “because Sam sang so pretty.” I twas the timing of the line breaks; how he soared on the word “you,” broke it into four syllables, and drew it across the beat; how he pulled the listener into his world from the first note. Cook “had a great sense of timing,” says White. “Phenomenal! No great voice, but soulful. And it tune. He was so in tune! When Sinatra was in his time, he was another, that had a great sense of timing.” White, playing behind him, could hear Sam “singing melody and counterpoint at the same time. Carrying a couple of melodies at the same time!