Sam Cooke, At The Copa, RCA LSP-2970, 1964
Sometimes you think you have the discovery of the ages in your hand, only to realize you’ve found some fool’s gold. Sam Cooke At The Copa, like Ella In Berlin, Judy Garland At Carnegie Hall, or James Brown At The Apollo is one of the few essential live albums any collector would snap up in a heartbeat. To find one in a bargain bin still in it’s original shrink wrap would be the sort of discovery you’d be telling your record friends about for years.
It was recorded in July, 1964, released that October, two short months before Sam was killed in a very bizarre shooting incident. He was at the top of his game when he died, and the single he followed this album up with (Shake/A Change Is Gonna Come) may have been his best. Soul Music wouldn’t be the same without the foundation Sam Cooke laid down, and we can only guess at all the great music he would have continued to create.
While this album wasn’t revolutionary when it was released, his too soon after death made it an instant collectible and finding an original issue of this record would be amazing at any price. Getting it home, I quickly realized I shouldn’t have been so excited.
The record inside was in deplorable shape, and to make matters worse, it’s a bad 70s re-issue of the 1964 original. Yesterday, we talked about original vs. re-issued records, but it takes time to learn what label each company was issuing when. Because John Denver’s early 70s albums originally came out with this label, I can date the manufacturing date of this record to that era. It may actually have been overpriced at $2.
I tried my best to clean it up with my pre-moistened wipe trick, but it failed to make the record very playable. The problem with 70’s and later records is that they found ways to make records more flexible and lighter, but to me, they just don’t hold up as well as records made before. This record is very thin and bendable and I really think that it affects the durability of the grooves. The cover on this record was very good by any rating scale, but the record was virtually unplayable. It’s especially jarring on a live album, with all the background noise they naturally have already on them.
My quest for a VG copy at descent price continues…
Cost: $2, $968 Remaining