Week of April 30, 2000

Roger Cook

Roger James Cooke wears many hats: songwriter (under the name Cook), record producer, antique dealer, music publisher, session singer and solo vocalist. Like so many others before him, Roger started his singing career with a local band in his native Bristol. He later joined the talented Kestrels, a vocal group, and spent some eighteen months touring and recording with them. One evening in the dressing room of a provincial theatre after the audience had long gone, Roger and another member of the Kestrels, Roger Greenaway, sat down and talked about the lack of commercial success of the group. And while they talked they played their guitars. The result of this late night get-together was the composition of a song called "You've Got Your Troubles", which became a worldwide hit for The Fortunes and has since been recorded by such names as Nancy Wilson, Andy Williams, Jack Jones, Brenda Lee and Billy May. This song opened up a brand new career for the two Rogers and they quickly followed up with international hit songs "Green Grass" and "Kaiser Bill's Batman". As well as writing, the two boys found time to start singing again - as a duo named David and Jonathan, guided by the sure hand of George Martin - and top ten hits such as "Michelle" and "Lovers Of The World Unite" (another Cook-Greenaway effort) soon followed.

In 1968, the two Rogers decided to concentrate fully on songwriting and endeavour to build their publishing company, Cookaway, into one of the most successful in the world. Songs like "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart", "Way Of Life", "The Way It Used To Be", "Conversations" and "Good Times (Better Times)" show how successful their company has been. Roger James Cooke continued to release the occasional solo record and also featured as a session singer on many hit records - the latest being his own composition, "Melting Pot", by a group called Blue Mink on which he sang vocal lead with Madeline Bell. This album could, of course, have been filled with Cook/Greenaway compositions, but Roger James and producer John Burgess have wisely chosen a collection of songs ideally suited to Roger's expressive voice and included are songs as far apart as the beautiful, poignant "Ellie", written by George Martin and Jerry Lordan to the 'instant' hit, "Teresa" by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood and the emotional "Something" by George Harrison. As I said before, Roger James Cooke wears many hats, but I like to think that foremost he is a performer and that you - the public - like to hear him sing. After all, isn't that why you bought this album?

(Taken from the original 1970 LP, "Study", SCX 6388, EMI)


STUDY (Columbia SCX 6388) 1970

MEANWHILE BACK AT THE WORLD (Regal Zonophone SRZA 8508) 1972
(featuring Tony Burrows, Vicki Brown, Barry DeSouza, Lesley Duncan, Jimmy Horowitz, Alan Parker, Caleb Quaye, Chris Spedding, Liza Strike)

MINSTREL IN FLIGHT (Regal Zonophone SLRZ 1035) 1973
(featuring B.J.Cole, Ray Cooper, Herbie Flowers, Chris Spedding)

ALRIGHT (Polydor 2383 357) 1976
(Madeline Bell, Hugh Burns, Doreen and Irene Chanter, Ray Glynn, Herbie Flowers, Mike Moran)


If I Didn't Have You/I Know It's You (Nems NEMS 3719) 1968 
Not That It Matters Anymore/Paperchase (Columbia DB 8510) 1969 
Stop/Someday (Columbia DB 8556) 1969 
Smiling Through My Tears/Ain't That A Wonderful Thing (Columbia DB 8596) 1969 (With Eve Graham)

Roger Cook was earlier David (of David and Jonathan) and he'd also gone on to form Blue Mink before recording these solo albums, which are now scarce and attract interest from some collectors.

Taken from The Tapestry of Delights - The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras 1963-1976, Vernon Joynson
ISBN 1 899855 04 1

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