Put Me Down Easy b/w Take Me For What I Am
Sam Cooke's brother, L.C., had the chops to make it big in the business, but it was not meant to be; like most siblings of mega-stars (Erma and Carolyn Franklin come to mind right away), there was too much room for comparison, and in L.C.'s case it didn't help that he sounded a lot like Sam. (L.C.'s bio can be found here, so I'll defer to it for those details.) Fortunately, L.C. made some great recordings in his career, most notably for Sam's SAR concern.
Today's selections comprise my favorite of L.C.'s SAR 45s. I must admit that when I finally got my hands on the single (having owned the Sam Cooke's SAR Records Story box set for some years), I was somewhat disappointed, because I had fallen in love with an alternate version of "Put Me Down Easy" that had a little bit more drive to the groove than what the record held. The 45 version of the tune, however, is still very good. Over a nice accompaniment that has a touch of cha-cha-cha (not unlike some of the things Sam was doing at the time), L.C. (billed as such on the 45) delivers the slight optimism present in the otherwise desperate lyrics, and Sam and S. Roy Crain (former Soul Stirrers singer and manager turned SAR label principal) provide nice gospel-bent background work on the choruses. The flip, "Take Me For What I Am," is a bright, up-tempo number finding L.C. and a femme chorus doing sort of a pop-gospel thing with lyrics that probably said everything one needed to know about Sam's way with the ladies vis-a-vis his wife ("don't try to make me into what I ain't / when you met me, baby, I was no saint"). Dubious morality of the lyrics aside, L.C. is having fun with this one, and it really bops along. Lou Rawls would take the tune, graft onto it one of his patented monologues (titled "Can You Dig It") and give it a southern soul ballad reading later in the decade for Capitol, a version that is also worth checking out.