Album: Night Beat
. . .
“You Gotta Move” is an old spiritual that had been kicking around for ages, usually with lyrics about how when the Lord gets ready, you gotta get the fuck out of there. The most famous version is the Rolling Stones cover of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s take on the song, though they were presumably aware of Sam Cooke’s rendition.
On his Night Beat album, though, Sam Cooke took the apocalyptic lyrics and recast the song as an end-of-a-relationship song, not the first time he’d taken a gospel lyric and recast it as a pop lyric.
You gotta move, you gotta move
Oh, you gotta move; baby, you gotta move
If you keep on mistreating me, baby
You gotta move
I said you gotta move, you gotta move
Move on, oh, you gotta move
If you keep on dogging me, baby
You gotta move
This is all set to an easy-rolling blues utterly dominated by Ray Jackson’s piano and Cooke’s voice. But also providing comment was a 16-year-old Billy Preston, who provided unexpected but trenchant organ fills throughout, his confidence growing with every lick.
And while the Stones might not have heard Cooke’s “You Gotta Move” (of course they did, but I’m going somewhere with this), Bob Dylan most certainly did, as the late night laid back dual keyboard sound of this song — and several others on Night Beat — sure do sound like precursors of the “thin wild mercury sound” that dominated Blonde on Blonde
In the end, Sam sounds like he’s having so much singing this song that he really doesn’t care all that much if she moves or not.
While Cooke’s “You Gotta Move” was never an A-side, it was the b-side of his “Little Red Rooster” single, which made #11 pop and #7 R&B. Like “You Gotta Move,” “Little Red Rooster” was also covered by the Rolling Stones. And in fact, while the Stones inexplicably had their second U.K. #1 single with it, they declined to release it in the States, probably because they’d heard Cooke’s superior version.
“You Gotta Move”
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