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)
Addendum: Bill Janovitz (Buffalo Tom)’s cover

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.

Tagged with , .


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

    mescking — April 29, 2007 @ 4:23 pm

  • 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.

    20th Street — April 29, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

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

    Bruce — April 29, 2007 @ 8:14 pm

  • Amazing post, you are an old soul

    Anonymous — April 30, 2007 @ 12:18 am

  • 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.

    Ali — April 30, 2007 @ 2:04 am

  • 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?

    heather — April 30, 2007 @ 6:43 am

  • 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……

    russell — April 30, 2007 @ 10:35 am

  • 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. :)

    Chad — April 30, 2007 @ 2:10 pm

  • 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.

    abbysee — May 1, 2007 @ 5:59 pm

  • How about the TED HAWKINS version? excellent voice!

    alex — May 2, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

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

    BigJB — May 6, 2007 @ 11:03 am

  • Hello,
    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.

    Soulman — May 9, 2007 @ 1:19 pm

  • 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.”


    Dan Aloi — May 13, 2007 @ 8:34 am

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

    Ravel,Montreal,Quebec — May 25, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

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

    Camden — May 28, 2007 @ 9:03 am

  • 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)

    Victor Rodriguez — October 5, 2007 @ 6:15 pm

  • How do you do that?

    Annie & Rob — November 3, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

  • 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!

    Erik Greene — November 21, 2007 @ 6:52 am

  • A truly great music blog entry. Thanks.

    Jack — December 7, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

  • BRAVO!!!!(^_-)

    misskatanga — January 17, 2008 @ 5:02 am

  • I am in awe of you.

    susan — January 17, 2008 @ 10:04 pm

  • 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?

    Todd — May 26, 2008 @ 10:42 am

  • 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

    Anonymous — August 6, 2008 @ 2:33 pm

  • 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.

    Ben The Balladeer — September 2, 2008 @ 10:18 am

  • Hi Heather –

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


    Mike W — September 22, 2008 @ 7:05 am

  • How the hell did miss this post? List is unbelievable!

    Knowing a few of your friends as I do :) I’m shocked that no one mentioned that this was a staple for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes around 80/81, and on their live album from that time (complete with a Richie LaBamba Rosenberg falsetto cameo vocal.) It was Southside, not Bruce, that introduced lots of folks my age to the great soul singers back then.

    Love that Harlem square club record (and yes I do mean vinyl…)


    ajs — January 14, 2009 @ 2:03 pm

  • Here’s two more, both courtesy of the lovely She & Him -

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/yaupob – Live at KEXP
    http://www.sendspace.com/file/3ank0f – Live at the Vista

    pay — January 24, 2009 @ 8:44 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

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