Cook Records

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

In Wikipedia I read that Cook Records released 140 LP’s between 1952 and 1966. That knowledge made an end to my hope to have the complete collection one day. I have a handful of Cook LP’s and I could have had more, but I didn’t buy Voices from the sky, because it was to expensive. Very stupid, because there were all kind of mysterious noises from the upper layers of the Earth’s atmosphere on that LP.
I would rather have that LP than Voices of the sea or Voice of the storm, which I bought because of the sleeves, but never play.
I think that Cook Records is a joke. The owner, Emory Cook, who also can be heard talking on some of the LP’s, may indeed be the expert sound engineer as it reads on the sleeves, but somehow my intuition tells me that Cook Records is a hoax.
On the Cook LP’s are sounds from nature, which for many people who bought these LP’s in the 50’s and 60’s must have been the first time they heard them. Tectonic plate shifts, hurricanes at open sea, comets entering the atmosphere, etcetera. The recordings are probably genuine, but the information on the sleeves probably is not. ”Index of performance: moves 15” speaker cone71/2. Lash down all small children and objets d’art”, hmm!
Recently I added the LP Cook’s tour of high fidelity to my collection. On the A-side there is some talking and interviewing by Emory Cook. It is something between a comedy radio show and a scientific documentary. As an audio archaeologist I found some of the information very interesting. But it sounds as if the whole LP was recorded in one afternoon. On the other side are supposedly all the sounds that you need to make your own radio or television program at home, but it sounds to me as a bunch of cheap sound effects, that somebody recorded during a coffee break.
If anybody knows the true story behind Cook Records, I would love to hear it!


Alan Ashton

2007-09-29 09:56:10

I can assure you that Emory Cook is (was) for real. In fact he made a whole series of Theatre Organ LPs featuring UK organist Reginald Foort on his Cook Sounds of our Times (SOOT) label. These were considered to be some of the finest pioneering theatre organ recordings of their time. Today they are collectors items, and I think I am correct in saying that all the Master Tapes for his entire output are in the American Smithsonian Institute. Hope this is of interest to everyone.


2007-10-04 16:30:47

Thanks for the comment. I hope that the archive will be made available one day soon!

Jerry Grover

2009-06-21 12:17:57

Cook made what I believe was the first stereo record – both the left and right tracks were recorded on the same side and you needed two cartridge heads to play it.


2009-06-21 13:36:37

i would like to se a picture of that record player. I know that simular record players were built by the Dutch radio stations, but i have not yet seen a picture of an original machine.

Tom Layman

2009-07-14 19:03:22

I was fortunate to have just bought a Cook 2 track tape entitled “Seven Last Words of Christ” by Dubois. STRONG organ bass which is nice and clean, and the singers (solo and choral) are extremely well recorded and as 3-dimensional as I have heard in a long time. This is Cook 1094st, and must have been made in the late 1950s…so devilishly good recording for that time, or even for THIS time!!

robert van enck

2010-02-04 00:33:18

He must be a musicolist to
find the finest sounds ever
heard.From tribes to natural sounds,brillant in one word.There is nothing better then life music.

Chris Rowse

2011-04-18 15:54:50

Not a joke. My dad and Grandfather bought original Cook records in the 1950s – the 7 last words and ‘Rail Dynamics’ – sounds of steam trains on the New York Central. Both fabulous recordings. Smithsonian has the originals – look them up there.

Brooke Anderson

2011-08-24 19:31:22

As a jazz collector, I really appreciate what Emory Cook recorded. His Lizzie Miles issues are a true legacy of a great NOLA blues singer. She was recorded with Red Camp, a good Texas piano man I have not heard elsewhere. Thanks, Emory.

Tyler Matthew

2012-05-02 20:46:20

The man was not a joke and neither was his work. I realize you were just uncertain about Cook Records but you can’t separate the two because the two were un-seperable. Listen the other comments above seem to be well educated on the technical side..but let me just say that from the human side..the man was a genius and his work reflected that…I know this because he never settled for anything less than absolute quality wether it be from work or his family. He simply could not turn it off. Anything you buy with his name on it is not suspect..tough grandpa to have..loved the guy…but tough. Take Care.


2012-05-02 21:38:23

@ Tyler and others: i never meant to give the impression that the man was a joke! I just had the idea that some of the sounds on certain records were made in a soundlab, in stead of actual field recordings. I seem to have been totally wrong. I don’t like to delete this page, i think that is not doen, but i neither like to offend people.

Tyler Matthew

2012-05-02 22:55:24

No offense at all taken…just admired the man…glad an individual
with your appreciation has a copy of his work and just wanted to
reassure you that I think it was a worthwhile purchase….you would
know better than I from a technical stand point..didn’t mean to
overreact..hope your collection continues to improve.

Very Respectfully,
Tyler Matthew

Stephen Garland

2012-07-26 18:28:28

Find a copy of Hot songs my mother taught me, Lizzy Miles, Cook 1183. One of Cooks best efforts, you will not be disappointed.
Steve Garland

kaleem qadir

2013-01-24 00:53:30

Just found some old cook records people are telling me its the holy grail have now also purchased turntables and a nice old school stereo to play them on just about to set it up.