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Sam Cooke — Chain Gang
Album: Portrait of a Legend
Avg rating:
8.1

Your rating:
Total ratings: 600









Released: 1960
Length: 2:26
Plays (last 30 days): 0
(Hoh! Ah!) I hear something saying (Hoh! Ah!)

(Hoh! Ah!) (Well don't you know)
That's the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, ga-ang
That's the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, gang

All day long they're singing (Hoh! Ah!)

(Well don't you know)
That's the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, ga-ang
That's the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, gang

All day long they work so hard till the sun is going down
Working on the highways and byways and wearing, wearing a frown
You hear they moaning their lives away
Then you hear somebody say

That's the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, ga-ang
That's the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, gang

Can't you hear them singing, mmm (Hoh! Ah!)
I'm going home one of these days
I'm going home, see my woman
Whom I love so dear
But meanwhile I gotta work right here

(Well don't you know)
That's the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, ga-ang
That's the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, gang

All day long they're singing, mmm (Hoh! Ah!)
My work is so hard
Give me water
I'm thirsty, my work is so hard
Woah ooo
My work is so hard
Comments (70)add comment
A1 Beautiful voice 
 jhorton wrote:
All the really old people in my trailer park say their grandparents loved this song.

 
You rated "Fever" by Peggy Lee a 10 - it was released the same year as this song.
All the really old people in my trailer park say their grandparents loved this song.
fabulous voice  : )
What a legend, what a song! forever pertinent. 
"Cool Hand Luke" is on TCM tonight, thats one coooool flik for those of us who have "a failure to communicate" with authority
One of the first "black" records played by the BBC besides the homogenised Banana Boat song by Harry Belafonte.

Everybody in my church loves this song...

Inside the Three Strikes Project— An Inmate's Letter
by Matt Taibbi
RollingStone 

I had to leave a thing or two out of our new article in Rolling Stone on California's insane mandatory sentencing laws, "Cruel and Unusual Punishment— The Shame of The Three Strikes Laws."

The piece was based largely on interviews I did with Three Strikes prisoners as well as students, professors and other members of Stanford University's Three Strikes Project, which was instrumental in passing a 2012 ballot initiative fixing some of the worst aspects of the notorious law. I went out to the Palo Alto area and spent a fair amount of time with the Stanford crew, and also talked a good deal with prisoners, largely by phone, often at odd hours. And it was a strangely emotional experience...

Many are homeless and mentally ill, doing life for piddling nonviolent property crimes, the kind of people who are sympathetic because they may not be wholly responsible for their actions – they're either not capable of functioning without help, or damaged by gruesome childhood abuse, or schizophrenic, or all three things and more...

These are people like Shane Taylor, doing life for allegedly possessing a few grains of alleged meth, or Larry Williams, who got the max for buying a stolen cell phone, or a third, recently-released inmate (whose name is being withheld because he wants to get on with his life) – who got busted for trying to shoplift $28 of plumbing supplies from Home Depot by hiding them in a bag under some bricks that he'd actually paid for...

 


What a voice. What a story.
Nice! 
I LOVE THIS SONG!!! Sam Cooke...splendid!!!!! Yep.{#Bananajam}
 Kittee wrote:
If you don't rate this a 10, something is wrong with you! What a classic!
And yes, nice transition !
 
Couldn't agree more...Sam was a bad ass



This song is soooo good for the ears...

 
pretenders must be coming next...
Haven't heard this in DECADES!!!
Nice segue from the Shawn Mullins!
If you don't rate this a 10, something is wrong with you! What a classic!
And yes, nice transition !
That was a fantastic transition. One of Bill's finest.

 jenakle wrote:
Sam Cooke - Chain Gang
Shawn Mullins - See That Train

I see what you did there!

{#Daisy}{#Yes}{#Daisy}
 

This is great!
Love me some Sam Cooke! I saw his name mentioned in Solomon Burke's obit in Rolling Stone, and I've been listening to some old sides from back when all week. Thanks Bill. {#Wave}
Sam Cooke - Chain Gang
Shawn Mullins - See That Train

I see what you did there!

{#Daisy}{#Yes}{#Daisy}

 lmic wrote:

Agree. Especially since he wrote the song after seeing an actual working Southern chain gang. Was it WonderLizard who said elsewhere something about Sam Cooke being especially subversive, crooning tunes like this one to white audiences back when?

 
Sure, but isn't that what those work songs are all about?  Finding a way to tolerate the intolerable by singing?

Great one, and great sequencing from that Shawn Mullins song with all the grunting (which I didn't really like, but the transition is fab).
It's hard to go wrong with Sam cooke on a play-list. :)
 Hannio wrote:
This song has always seemed much too cheery for the subject matter.
 
Agree. Especially since he wrote the song after seeing an actual working Southern chain gang. Was it WonderLizard who said elsewhere something about Sam Cooke being especially subversive, crooning tunes like this one to white audiences back when?

My friends and I sang this chrous sooooo much in high school. I was born in 1982. Let that sink in a bit. Sam Cooke... timeless.

This song has help up very well to the test of time...
Great song, great voice, but cannot compare to A Change Is Gonna Come.  Granted that's an unfair comparison, because that song is an absolute landmark.
Hmmm....
This song has always seemed much too cheery for the subject matter.

wow... great song. Haven't heard in years.
Thank you{#Clap}
Had to turn this one up. {#Music}
Everything he touched was made brilliant.
The voice of an angel!!
This song is a 10 for all the right reasons.
Not creepy. Brilliant. He did the same thing in a much more overt and powerful way with "A Change is Gonna Come."
WonderLizard wrote:
What's remarkable is that Cooke took this Jim Crow metaphor for bitter oppression and turned it into a pop song that white kids danced to on American Bandstand. Creepy when you think about it. Still, a 9+.
astute observation and agreed.
What's remarkable is that Cooke took this Jim Crow metaphor for bitter oppression and turned it into a pop song that white kids danced to on American Bandstand. Creepy when you think about it. Still, a 9+.
You know what amazes me most about Sam Cooke? He made this sound easy. What a talent this dude had!
meydele wrote:
Probably it was Physicsgenius.
Maybe, but most likely he felt there was too much of the 90% on RP and left, as I haven't read a post from him in a while.
HazzeSwede wrote:
Great singer,sounds a little like Niel Young,don't you think? :smile:
Wha??
always good to hear Sam...whata voice! :dancingbanana:
back on the......
damn if I'd known this crowd would dig it I'd have uploaded Sam Cooke long ago. kudos.
Truly, one of the greats of all time. :music:
Great singer,sounds a little like Niel Young,don't you think? :smile:
victoryluna wrote:
More from Sam Cooke!!!
I can't imagine anyone thinking that his music is less than great.
That\'s good stuff, let\'s party :roflol:
More from Sam Cooke!!!
Bill - you can\'t play enough Sam Cooke...more, more, more.
A song of summer, in my mind. Sam Cooke, never another like him, before or after.
This song will always remind me of one of my favorite movies - Cadence
love this song.. wasn't exactly a chain gang, but this song and "i fought the law" playing in my head made tolerable the weekends of community service i served a few years ago
canadave wrote:
I really enjoy this song, though I prefer the version done by the Nylons, mainly for nostalgic values. Has a great timeless feel to it.
What an astonishing statement! A classic? Well, yes, but the Nylons? Jeez!
I love it when Bill throws a classic like this into the mix. Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett in the same morning = me happy.
Sam Cooke :bounce:
10! And who else is at work listening to this? :)
So I'm driving with my buddy in New Orleans, windows down, and it's a beautiful day. To our right, on the side of the road, is a literal chain gang, working on some construction project. Take two obnoxious kids, open windows, and that setting, and you can imagine what happened next. "OOOOH!.....AHHHH!.....OOOOOOH!....AHHH!" Then my buddy realized that they could see his license plate and we were gone...
9- Outstanding!! :dance: :dance:
What a voice!! Only on RP will you find the Smiths followed by Sam Cooke. Brilliant!!!
What a voice.
To the dude running the playlist - I love you, man!
wally42 wrote:
Who out there could possibly think so little of the genius of Sam Cook to rate this tune a 1!
Probably it was Physicsgenius.
What's amazing about this song is the soft, velvety pop arrangement behind a wrenching story of convicts laboring in the hot sun--think "Cool Hand Luke" only much blacker.
Who out there could possibly think so little of the genius of Sam Cook to rate this tune a 1! Okay I'll say.... can't help it... MORON! You must have done it out of spite! :beat:
canadave wrote:
I really enjoy this song, though I prefer the version done by the Nylons, mainly for nostalgic values. Has a great timeless feel to it.
Another Nylons fan here. I wonder if RP has ever played any of their stuff?
Great song for a Wednesday afternoon at work....
YES! Godlike! :dancingbanana:
I really enjoy this song, though I prefer the version done by the Nylons, mainly for nostalgic values. Has a great timeless feel to it.