SAR & Derby Album Discographies
by David Edwards and Mike Callahan
Last update: March 27, 2001

The SAR label was formed in 1959 in Los Angeles, California, by Sam Cooke and his friend and business partner J.W. Alexander. SAR stands for Sam, Alex and Roy; the "Roy" is S.R. Crain, originator and manager of the Soul Stirrers gospel group. The output of the SAR label was gospel and rhythm and blues.

Sam Cooke was one of the first, if not the first, major black performer to form his own record company. In addition to the record company, Cooke owned Kags Music Corporation, which published the songs Cooke, J.W. Alexander, and others wrote. In 1959, the first single from SAR was "Wade in the Water"/"He Cares" by the Soul Stirrers.

Cooke himself was recording for RCA Victor, but he was writing and producing songs for SAR. With SAR, Sam Cooke had an outlet for the side of his music that he could not express on his pop oriented RCA recordings. The music Cooke produced on SAR is harsher and more down to earth than anything he was allowed to do on RCA. The rhythm and blues on the SAR label included Johnnie Taylor, Johnnie Morisette, the Sims Twins and the Valentinos. The Sims Twins, forerunners of Sam and Dave ("Soothe Me"), recorded "That's Where It's At", Johnnie Morisette recorded "Meet Me at the Twistin' Place" and Johnnie Taylor cut "Rome (Wasn't Built in a Day)," in all three cases earlier -- and many would consider better -- than the pop versions Sam Cooke did for RCA. Unfortunately, this more soulful side of Sam Cooke never saw the light of day on RCA until 20 years after his death, when the aborted 1963 album One Night Stand was finally released as the remarkable Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963.

The singles on the SAR label included gospel by the Soul Stirrers, the Womack Brothers, and R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders. It appears that the only albums issued by SAR were gospel releases, with four by the Soul Stirrers and one gospel compilation album.

In 1963, Cooke and Alexander established a pop music subsidiary label named Derby. There were two albums released on Derby, the Mel Carter album titled after his Derby hit, "When a Boy Falls in Love" and an album by Billy Preston titled 16 Yr. Old Soul.

Sam Cooke was shot to death in a Los Angeles motel in 1964. SAR Records continued into 1965 when Sam's widow dissolved the label. The SAR and Derby masters are currently owned by Abkco. It is not known if any of the SAR or Derby LPs were issued in stereo.

We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail. Both Sides Now Publications is an information web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association with SAR or Derby Records. Should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in this discography (which are all out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow the instructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 1997, 2001 by Mike Callahan.


Number - Title - Artist [Release Date] Contents

LPM-501 - Jesus Be a Fence Around Me - Soul Stirrers [1961] I'm A Pilgrim/Listen To The Angels/Jesus Be A Fence Around Me/Toiling On/He's Been A Shelter For Me/Stand By Me Father/Must Jesus Bear The Cross Alone?/Don't Leave Me/I'm Thankful/I Love The Lord/He Cares/Wade In The Water

LPM-502 - Soul Stirrers - Soul Stirrers [1962]

LPM-503 - Gospel Pearls - Various Artists [1962] That's Heaven To Me - Sam Cooke/Deep River - Sam Cooke/I Thank God - Sam Cooke/Heaven Is My Home - Soul Stirrers/God Is Standing By - Soul Stirrers/Pass Me Not - R.H Harris & Gospel Paraders/Steal Away - Sam Cooke/Must Jesus Bear The Cross Alone - Soul Stirrers/Lead Me Jesus - Soul Stirrers/Troublin' Mind - R.H Harris & Gospel Paraders/Sometimes - R.H Harris & Gospel Paraders/Somebody - R.H Harris & Gospel Paraders

LPM-504 - Encore - Soul Stirrers [1962] His Love/No Need To Worry/Since I Met The Savior/Praying Ground/Amazing Grace/Free At Last/Something Here Inside/Time Brings About A Change/Joy In My Soul/Where Jesus Is

LPM-505 - Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers - Sam Cooke & Soul Stirrers [1963]


The Derby label was purple with black printing. "DERBY" in yellow running from straight above the center hole to the right of the center hole. There is a picture of a derby hat above and to the left of the center hole. Going around the label are 5 more yellow outlines of derby hats.

LPM-701 - 16 Yr. Old Soul - Billy Preston [1963] Greazee/Lost And A'Lookin'/I Can't Stop Loving You/Born To Lose/Ain't That Love //Bring It On Home To Me/God Bless The Child/Pretty Little Girl/In The Spring/Good News

LPM-702 - When a Boy Falls in Love - Mel Carter [1963] Time Of Young Love/We'll Bless Each Day With Our Love/So Wonderful/When I Fall In Love/Twelfth Of Never/Why I Call Her Mine //When A Boy Falls In Love/Hold Me/For Your Love/Wonderful Love/After The Parting The Meeting is Sweeter/You Can Count On Me


ABKCO 2231-2 - Sam Cooke's SAR Records Story - Various Artists [1994] All tracks mono. Studio talk for the songs is on a separate track, so you can cue up the songs without the talk. Disc 1: Wade In The Water - Soul Stirrers (with studio talk)/I'm A Pilgrim - Soul Stirrers/Praying Ground - Soul Stirrers/Somebody - R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders (with studio talk)/Sometimes - R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders/Amazing Grace - Soul Stirrers/Pass Me Not - R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders/Oh Mary Don't You Weep - Soul Stirrers (with studio talk)/Since I Met The Savior - Soul Stirrers/God Is Standing By - Soul Stirrers/Lead Me To Calvary - Sam Cooke, S.R. Crain & Soul Stirrers (rehearsal)/Listen To The Angels Sing - Soul Stirrers/Don't Leave Me Alone - Soul Stirrers/Stand By Me Father - Soul Stirrers/Jesus Be A Fence Around Me - Soul Stirrers/Lead Me Jesus - Soul Stirrers/Free At Last - Soul Stirrers/Looking Back - Soul Stirrers (with studio talk and false starts)/Born Again - R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders/Wait On Jesus - R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders/Time Brings About A Change - Soul Stirrers/Must Jesus Bear The Cross Alone - Soul Stirrers/Yield Not To Temptation - Womack Brothers (with studio talk)/Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray - Womack Brothers/Somewhere There's A God - Womack Brothers/That's Heaven To Me - Sam Cooke; Disc 2: You Send Me - Sam Cooke (demo)/Just For You - Sam Cooke/Somewhere There's A Girl - Sam Cooke/You Were Made For Me - Sam Cooke/When A Boy Falls In Love - Mel Carter/Soothe Me - Simms Twins/That's Where It's At - Simms Twins (with studio talk)/Everybody Wants To Fall In Love - Valentinos/Keep On Loving You - Johnnie Taylor/I'll Always Be In Love With You - Johnnie Taylor/Baby We've Got Love - Johnnie Taylor (with studio talk)/Baby Lots Of Luck - Valentinos/Put Me Down Easy - L.C. Cooke/Rome (Wasn't Built In A Day) - Johnnie Taylor/Greazee, Parts I & II - Billy Preston/I Gopher You - Simms Twins/You're Always On My Mind - Johnnie Morisette (with studio talk)/I Need Lots Of Love - Johnnie Taylor/Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong - Johnnie Morisette/Black Night - Johnnie Morisette/Damper - Johnnie Morisette/You Can Run (But You Can't Hide) - Johnnie Taylor/Meet Me At The Twisting Place - Johnnie Morisette (with studio talk)/Good Good Loving - Simms Twins/The Wobble - L.C. Cooke/Lookin' For A Love - Valentinos (with studio talk)/I've Got Love For You - Valentinos/I've Got A Girl - Valentinos (with studio talk)/Tired Of Living In The Country - Valentinos/It's All Over Now - Valentinos

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