Cook Records Reissues
Cook Records, the record label of famed audio engineer/inventor Emory Cook, was acquired by Smithsonian Folkways in 1990 – one of the label’s earliest acquisitions. The wide-ranging collection of 140 albums features European and American concert music, U.S. and Caribbean popular and traditional music, as well as mechanical and natural sounds. According to Folkways Senior Curator and Archivist Jeff Place, “Cook’s records were coveted by audio geeks in the 1950s, and he didn’t want to control the environment at all. He wanted his recordings to be like you’re standing in the middle of the street in Port of Spain and a steel band is marching by. He didn’t want just a recording.” Much of the Cook catalog represents the pinnacle of sound recording technology of his time.
Folkways has selected four stand-out recordings from Cook Records, unavailable and out-of-print for many years, to make available once again with complete audio, liner notes, and album art. These classic releases range in style and scope, and represent Cook’s dedication to recording unconventional instruments, people, and places, or as Place puts it, an “odd assortment of wacky geniuses.” Learn more about these “long lost” recordings: