Very early on in Move on Up, Aaron Cohen gives his readers, in one line, a manual for reading the rest of his book. He is discussing “For Your Precious Love,” the 1958 song by Jerry Butler and the Impressions. The song is stunning: Butler’s aching baritone (he was 19) is wonderfully accented by Curtis Mayfield’s simple, profound guitar figure (he was 16). The production is a triumph of negative space—there isn’t really too much on the track, but it contains multitudes. As with so much of Move on Up, Aaron Cohen does not want us to pay too much attention to the song itself, but wants to call attention to the worlds it inhabited and created: “While only a few people were on hand for the recording, a community generated the...

You do not currently have access to this content.