In the early 1960s when soul star Sam Cooke had his own record label, SAR, he recorded songs by his younger brother, L.C. Cooke. Ten of the tracks were supposed to become L.C.’s debut album in 1964. The release was postponed, then Sam Cooke was killed, SAR went out of business and L.C.’s album fell into limbo. Now, 50 years later, The Complete SAR Records Recordings has appeared. Fresh Air critic Milo Miles examines this lost piece of history:
I knew Sam Cooke had a younger brother who he had recorded and produced. But it was tough to hear any of L.C. Cooke’s rare singles and impossible to evaluate him as a performer overall. Not any more. All of the material L.C. recorded for his brother’s SAR label, plus two songs made before and one from after have come out as The Complete SAR Records Recordings. Most were written by Sam, a few by L.C. To get my one hesitation out of the way, L.C. is not quite the singer his brother was — tones less rich, phrasing a bit more pedestrian. But it’s good the material sketches a persona different than Sam’s. L. C. seems, how shall we say? — brattier.
L.C. Cooke via ABKCO records