fripodding and partying: “yeah man” sam cooke


I lied once again. Not that anyone would know what I was lying about, but I already had a predetermined friPod pick for today, and I’m changing my mind again. I just want the record to show, that if I had money to burn, not only would I raid a grocery store and probably Best Buy, but I’d be a total iTunes junkie.

With that said, let me introduce, for probably the first time, a Sam Cooke song. Amazingly, I don’t really speak of him that often or choose many of his songs to my pick for the week, but this particular song struck me in such a way that I had to share it! And I can be the first to tell you, even though I’m one of his biggest fans, I know I haven’t heard every song he’s ever done. I personally think that’s what makes being a fan of a late legend pretty cool because there are strong possibilities you find a lost treasure like that.

Today’s iPick would sorta be considered two songs, and I’ll explain why. The song is called “Yeah Man.” Simple enough, right? So are the lyrics to the chorus. It’s just that, “yeah man.” Don’t be fooled by the ballads and love songs Mr. Cooke has provided in his career. He definitely loves to party. If you are Cooke fan, you already know because his list of love songs probably matches the list of party songs. And all the live performances I’ve heard sound like a good time indeed. (Incidentally, “Good Times” and “We’re Having a Party” are a few favorites of mine.) And it certainly sounds like a party is going on while “Yeah Man” was recorded. I wouldn’t be surprised. He talks to “the party-goers” like they are there, or he is with them… so you know it’s meant to be performed live, or at least played at dance parties. Unfortunately, I can’t find a recording online, but here is a really good live cover performing the song the way it’s meant to. Almost modernized too. And with the actual dance moves of the 60’s with moves from today. Trust me, I was skeptical when it first started playing, but I’m impressed. I don’t think I could do better as much as I love to sing this song in my car.

Awesome? I think so. I would definitely say he did the song justice. He had the passion, the dance moves, and importantly- the soul. And his dancing buddy certainly helped a lot too. I wasn’t really sure how the Watusi was done even though I’ve heard it in so many songs. The same goes for the Mashed Potato, which is another song I like.

But if the song sounds familiar, you probably heard what was a big hit in the later 60’s by Arthur Conley, Jr, “Sweet Soul Music.” A very soulful updated version of “Yeah Man” that pays homage to soul music and many soul artists at the time. My only disagreement with the song is that Sam Cooke doesn’t get a shout out, but I’m willing to let it go since Otis Redding (Cooke’s protege, if you will) was involved in the rewriting of this song with Conley. I actually heard this song before “Yeah Man” so I’m really used to hearing this version with the louder instruments. I probably like “Yeah Man” an ounce more though. I’ll let you judge for yourself. I found this recording, apparently he’s performing, but I think he’s just lip-synching. It doesn’t matter, it’s still a great song and there are a few live versions of him performing the song.

I have plans of my own with this song. My original plan was to rewrite it so I could include Sam Cooke as well as other great soulful talents like Al Green, Areatha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Luther VanDross, just to name a few. Then after I heard “Yeah Man”, I considered a gospel version of this song, meant to be performed during a church service to get people moving and out of their seats. I don’t know about you, but my church loves to party, and this would be the perfect song for that. As I told my mother, whom agrees with me, the only bad thing about these songs is that they are too short. Thank God for the repeat button, and I apologize to anyone who’s within earshot that hears the same song for an hour.

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