Various Artists

Sam Cooke's SAR Records Story (1959-1965): Gatefold Vinyl 4LP


Release date: 10 May, 2024

Sam Cooke’s SAR Records Story 1959-1965 gathers significant recordings of SAR Records – the label Sam Cooke co-founded, produced the majority of records for and was instrumental in operating. Groundbreaking artists such as The Soul Stirrers, Johnnie Taylor, Billy Preston, and Bobby Womack’s group The Valentinos are all featured, in addition to Sam himself.

“The whole SAR Records Story is infused with Sam Cooke’s rapturous sense of how sacred gospel and sexual soul flow together, unbroken,” stated Milo Miles on NPR’s Fresh Air upon the set’s initial release almost three decades ago.

In an era where black-owned labels were a rarity, Los Angeles based SAR Records was founded at almost exactly the same time as Motown, its Detroit counterpart. SAR was established in 1959 by Sam Cooke, music publisher J.W. Alexander, and S. Roy Crain, Cooke’s road manager and founder of gospel group The Soul Stirrers. The acronymous name standing for Sam Alex Roy, SAR sought to keep gospel music alive while simultaneously crossing over to pop audiences in the secular world. LPs 1 and 2 of the set focus on the former, while LPs 3 and 4 encompass the latter.

From choosing talent, to writing a great number of songs, to producing, SAR was entirely the fulfillment of Cooke’s vision on a musical/creative level. The superstar singer, who had already crossed over from the gospel world himself, tirelessly coached the vocalists during SAR recording sessions, emphasizing diction. His methods are heard throughout the collection, as he is heard speaking to artists between takes.

“And by [Sam] being there with you and just giving you that special attention, you wanted to give it to him like it was supposed to be. I think that’s what made SAR, SAR. Because he was selling himself through different artists.” – Bobby Womack

LP1 - Side 1

  1. Wade In The Water (Chatter)
  2. Wade In The Water – The Soul Stirrers
  3. I’m A Pilgrim – The Soul Stirrers
  4. Praying Ground – The Soul Stirrers
  5. Somebody (Chatter)
  6. Somebody – R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders
  7. Sometimes – R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders
  8. Amazing Grace – The Soul Stirrers

LP1 - Side 2

  1. Pass Me Not – R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders
  2. Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep (Chatter)
  3. Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep – The Soul Stirrers
  4. Since I Met The Savior – The Soul Stirrers
  5. God Is Standing By – The Soul Stirrers
  6. Lead Me To Calvary (Rehearsal) – The Soul Stirrers
  7. Listen To The Angels Sing – The Soul Stirrers
  8. Don’t Leave Me Alone – The Soul Stirrers

LP2 - Side 1

  1. Stand By Me Father – The Soul Stirrers
  2. Jesus Be A Fence Around Me – The Soul Stirrers
  3. Lead Me Jesus – The Soul Stirrers
  4. Free At Last – The Soul Stirrers
  5. Looking Back (Chatter)
  6. Looking Back – The Soul Stirrers
  7. Born Again – R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders

LP2 - Side 2

  1. Wait On Jesus – R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders
  2. Time Brings About A Change – The Soul Stirrers
  3. Must Jesus Bear The Cross Alone – The Soul Stirrers
  4. Yield Not To Temptation (Chatter)
  5. Yield Not To Temptation – The Womack Brothers
  6. Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray – The Womack Brothers
  7. Somewhere There’s A God – The Womack Brothers
  8. That’s Heaven To Me – Sam Cooke

LP3 - Side 1

  1. You Send Me (Demo) – Sam Cooke
  2. Just For You – Sam Cooke
  3. Somewhere There’s A Girl – Sam Cooke
  4. You Were Made For Me – Sam Cooke
  5. When A Boy Falls In Love – Mel Carter
  6. Soothe Me – The Simms Twins
  7. That’s Where It’s At (Chatter)
  8. That’s Where It’s At – The Simms Twins
  9. Everybody Wants To Fall In Love – The Valentinos

LP3 - Side 2

  1. Keep On Loving You – Johnnie Taylor
  2. I’ll Always Be In Love With You – Johnnie Taylor
  3. Baby, We’ve Got Love (Chatter)
  4. Baby, We’ve Got Love – Johnnie Taylor
  5. Baby, Lots Of Luck – The Valentinos
  6. Put Me Down Easy – L.C. Cooke
  7. Rome (Wasn’t Built In A Day) – Johnnie Taylor
  8. Greazee Part I & II – Billy Preston

LP4 - Side 1

  1. I Gopher You – The Simms Twins
  2. I Gopher You (Chatter)
  3. You’re Always On My Mind – Johnnie Morisette
  4. I Need Lots Of Love – Johnnie Morisette
  5. Don’t Throw Your Love On Me So Strong – Johnnie Morisette
  6. Black Night – Johnnie Morisette
  7. Damper – Johnnie Morisette
  8. You Can Run (But You Can’t Hide) – Johnnie Taylor
  9. Meet Me At The Twisting Place (Chatter)
  10. Meet Me At The Twisting Place – Johnnie Morisette

LP4 - Side 2

  1. Good Good Loving – The Simms Twins
  2. The Wobble – L.C. Cooke
  3. Lookin’ For A Love (Chatter)
  4. Lookin’ For A Love – The Valentinos
  5. I’ve Got Love For You – The Valentinos
  6. I’ve Got A Girl (Chatter)
  7. I’ve Got A Girl – The Valentinos
  8. Tired Of Living In The Country – The Valentinos
  9. It’s All Over Now – The Valentinos
Vinyl LP