Pop Archives

The Groove - Soothe Me (1968)

(Sam Cooke)
Australia Australia
#8 Sydney #8 Melbourne #3 Brisbane #2 Perth

Soul-oriented band formed in Melbourne in 1967. The Groove was something of a supergroup, its members having worked with The Clefs (Tweed Harris), Max Merritt & the Meteors (Peter Williams), The Librettos and The Playboys (Rod Stone), Black Pearls and Running Jumping Standing Still (Jamie Byrne), and Steve & the Board (Geoff Bridgford).

Sam & Dave’s version of Soothe Me was the one known to The Groove when they recorded the song. Rod Stone, for example, had not heard Sam Cooke’s version at the time (or the original) but had seen Sam & Dave perform it in London in 1967. Soothe Me became The Groove’s most popular song on stage.

See also Simon Says and You are The One I Love.

Further reading: For a thorough account of The Groove, see Paul Culnane’s article at Milesago which draws on the recollections of Groove guitarist Rod Stone.

Thanks to Rod Stone of The Groove.

Live TV performance 1968
Studio recording 1968

Sam And Dave - Soothe Me (1967)

(Sam Cooke)
Influential version

Single on Stax by Sam Moore (b.1935) and Dave Prater (1937–1988). Recorded live in London.

Like The Sims Twins and Sam Cooke (below), Sam Moore and Dave Prater had both been in gospel music groups before getting together in the late 1950s. They recorded on Roulette and Atlantic in the first half of the 60s but hit their stride after they went to Stax and worked with writer-producers Isaac Hayes and David Porter, backed by the Memphis Horns. Sam & Dave’s biggest hit Soul Man (1967, #2 USA), for example, was a HayesPorter composition and production.

Sam Cooke - Soothe Me (1962)

(Sam Cooke)

On the album Twistin’ The Night Away. also on an RCA Victor 33 rpm Special Edition 7″ single (i.e. the same size as a regular 45 rpm single).

The second vocal is by Lou Rawls, Sam Cooke’s childhood friend and a former member of gospel group The Pilgrim Travelers.

Sam Cooke (1931-1964) sang in a family gospel group from childhood, and from 1950 he became the star lead tenor with progressive gospel group The Soul Stirrers. He took his gospel stylings into secular music and became popular in the Top 40 and rhythm & blues markets, beginning with his composition You Send Me (1957, #1 USA, pop and r&b). He became a key influence on soul music, both stylistically and as a promoter of new talent through his own label SAR.

Further reading: 1. Sam Cooke entry at Donald’s Encyclopedia of Popular Music 2. Sam Cooke biography by Bruce Eder at All Music.

Sam Cooke was the most important soul singer in history, its primary inventor, and its most popular and beloved performer in both the Black and white communities.

Bruce Eder, All Music [link]

Soul Stirrers - Lead Me Jesus (1961)

(Sam Cooke - Leroy Crume)

Single on Sam Cooke’s label SAR October 1961, adapted from Soothe Me by Soul Stirrers member Leroy Crume.

Gospel group The Soul Stirrers were formed as The New Pleasant Green Quartet in Houston around 1926. They changed their name around 1930 when they were joined by Silas Roy Crain (c.1911-1996) who had been in a gospel group called The Soul Stirrers in regional Texas.

In 1950, nineteen-year-old Sam Cooke joined as lead tenor from Chicago gospel group The Highway QCs. Cooke’s talents and personal appeal contributed to The Soul Stirrers’ most successful period, marked by record sales that were huge by gospel music standards. After he left the group to go mainstream in 1957, The Soul Stirrers were dropped by their label but were soon signed to Cooke’s own label SAR.

Stax soul star Johnnie Taylor was another notable alumnus of both The Highway QCs and The Soul Stirrers (where he replaced Sam Cooke). He had eleven Billboard Top 40 records 1968-1976, including Who’s Making Love (1968, #5) and Disco Lady (1976, #1), as well as thirteen R&B hits with three at #1.

Sources, further reading: 1. W. K. McNeil (ed.), Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music (2005), pp. 356-358 [digitised version at Internet Archive; free registration needed] 2. ‘Soothe Me’ history at The Originals by Arnold Rypens.

Recommended reading: Paul McGuinness, “A Change Is Gonna Come: How Gospel Gave Birth To Soul” at udiscovermusic.com

Sims Twins - Soothe Me (1961)

(Sam Cooke)
Original version

Single on SAR June 1961.

The Sims Twins (aka Simms) were Bobbie (1937-2006) and Kenneth (1937-2006). They were born in Elba, Louisiana, but moved to Los Angeles in the late 1940s. They were signed by Sam Cooke to his LA label SAR in 1961.

Their early musical influences came from singing as youngsters in their family’s gospel group, and from r&b or doo-wop duos such as Marvin & Johnny and Don & Dewey. On Soothe Me the Sims seem to anticipate future directions in 60s soul, especially with the male vocal duo.

According to legend, Sam & Dave found each other in mutual fascination for the close harmony singing of Bobbie & Kenneth Sims

Arnold Rypens at The Originals

Essential reading: Simms Twins at Sir Shambling’s Deep Soul Heaven.

Thanks to Walter for suggestion.

… [The Sims Twins’] vocals dripped of their church background – maybe the first duo to claim that territory. Their first release, the infectious melodic “Soothe Me” … set a new standard, and even style, of male duo singing that other pairs like Sam & Dave and everybody who wanted to be Sam & Dave were influenced by.

Sir Shambling, at his Deep Soul Heaven website [link]

The Secrets - Soothe Me (1969)

(Sam Cooke)
New Zealand New Zealand
Later version

Single on Festival [NZ] by Christchurch band, produced by Glen Roche.

The Secrets’ band history, as told by Bruce Sergeant, really needs a Pete Frame-style family tree. Christchurch music site RockHappenz divides the band’s history into The Secrets Mk 1 and Mk2 + Mk3.

The key point is that this band was formed in the late 60s with one member of an earlier band called The Secrets that had broken up after releasing one single in 1966.

The latter-day Secrets released one single, Soothe Me (1969), and lasted at least to 1971, according to RockHappenz. There were many personnel and name changes along the way which you can read about in detail at Bruce’s page.

Around the time of Soothe Me the line-up was Geoff Cavender (bass), Stan White (from the earlier Secrets, keyboards), and Wayne Allen (drums). (Geoff is spelt Jeff in some sources. His 1980 UK single has Geoff but it also has his surname spelt as Cavander).

Not to be confused with the Australian Secrets, Peter Rechter’s later incarnations of his cult band from 1960s Bendigo, The Tol-puddle Martyrs.

Sources, further reading: 1. Secrets at Bruce Sergeant’s NZ music site is dizzying in its detail. 2. The Secrets pages at RockHappenz are largely pictorial and nicely organised into two pages covering Mk 1 and Mk2 + Mk3. 3. Notes to YouTube video by JCNZ1947.

Merci à Philippe de me signaler cette version.

Ernie Andrews - Soothe Me (1945)

(Joe Greene)
Red herring

Same title but not the same song as ‘Soothe Me’ by The Groove.

B-side on 78 rpm disc by jazz-blues singer Ernie Andrews (1927-2022) who recorded a number of Joe Greene compositions. Two of those had the same title as a song that would be written in the 1960s: Soothe Me (1945) and Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying (1945).

This Soothe Me has been recorded by many, including Andy Kirk And His Orchestra (1947), Stan Keaton And His Orchestra (1948), The Platters (1965) and Maria Muldaur (1999).

It has the same opening line as Sam Cooke’s Soothe Me: Soothe me, baby, soothe me.

Listen at YouTube

There are many other different songs with this title or a variation, including Soothe Me (Brenton Wood 1973), Soothe Me (Mary McCreary 1974, see also here), Soothe Me (INXS 1991), Soothe Me Baby (Bobby Foster 1964), Soothe Me Baby (Geno Washington, 1977), and Soothe Me With Your Love (Peaches & Herb 1970).