Though few details have been made public, it’s been reported that L C COOKE, brother of Sam Cooke, has died at the age of 84. Jody Klein, president of ABKCO Records (owners of Cooke’s SAR Records archive) posted: “It’s with a sad heart that I inform you of the passing of our great friend L.C. Cooke whose talents, humanity and charm we shall all miss.”
L C (no one’s ever got to the bottom of the meaning of the initials, though the singer says they mean “loads of charm”) was born in 1932, two years after Sam. He was the fifth of 10 children and along with Sam and two sisters, their father, Reverend Charles Cook (note no final “e” on the name: Sam added that later and L C used both spellings) coached them into a gospel group, The Singing Children. They later became The Nobleairs and then The Highway Q.C.’s before L C quit and joined The Soul Stirrers. That was in 1951. L C later joined the Magnificents (pictured below) who enjoyed moderate success with ‘Up On The Mountain’.
Cooke then moved (solo) to Chess/Checker before signing with brother Sam’s, SAR label. Several singles were released on L C and an album was pencilled in for 1964 release but Sam’s murder not only stymied that, but put an end to all SAR activities.
Back in 2014 ABKO Records issued a retrospective of L C Cooke. The sleeve notes reveal that L C hankered to be a pop star; he says he never was a soul singer. However, listen and you’ll hear an obvious similarity to Sam’s soul styling. With Bobby Womack on guitar on several tracks, the collection is a treasure trove for vintage soul fans with, maybe, ‘The Wobble’ (a modest hit) standing out – Motown meets Major Lance! The compilation, by the way, includes Cooke’s Checker single and a post SAR recording he made for Destination Records