Richard Cook

Tragar's Richard Cook was an Otis Redding acolyte and impersonator. “Love Is So Mean,” entirely derivative and surprisingly successful as a stylistic interpretation, did nothing to capitalize on the national fondness for the late Southern icon. The historical relevance of Cook’s only 45 is that it debuted the talents of arranger Tommy Stewart, who brought a new level of professionalism to Jesse Jones’s operation. Jones had been aware of Stewart since working with a student of Stewart’s, the luminary James Carmichael, who later worked for Motown and brought the Commodores to fame and fortune. Shortly after moving to Atlanta from Gadsen, Alabama, Stewart hooked up with the Cooks at their regular gig at the Pink Pussycat. J.D. Morris brought the talented Stewart to Jones, and they immediately put him to work at LeFevre Studios on Elsworth Drive. Richard Cook was in one room stumbling over the functional but limp “Somebody Got’A Help Me,” while Eula Cooper worked intently on her follow-up. Stewart’s steady hand would guide the label’s productions over the next year, giving Tragar the sheen it desperately required.

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