During his days in the gospel harmony group the Soul Stirrers, Sam Cooke found himself sharing a bill with a group from Ohio called the Womack Brothers, with a dynamic lead singer named Bobby Womack. Cooke was convinced Womack and his group had the potential to become stars, and when he launched his own record label, SAR Records, he signed them to a contract. However, the act soon made some major changes -- they left behind gospel music to sing secular R&B, and they changed their name to the Valentinos. The Valentinos scored an R&B hit with their first release, an upbeat number called "Lookin' for a Love," and another single, "It's All Over Now," was climbing the charts when the Rolling Stones covered the tune, leaving the Valentinos' version in the dust. When Sam Cooke was murdered in 1964, SAR went out of business and the Valentinos subsequently broke up, while Womack went on to a long and multifaceted solo career. Lookin' for a Love: The Complete SAR Recordings is a collection that brings together the complete catalog of the Valentinos' years with SAR, as well as four songs from their gospel days as the Womack Brothers and seven unreleased tracks. For Bobby Womack fans, this is a fascinating glimpse into the early days of his career, and the consistent strength of the songs and performances make this a must for anyone with a taste for R&B vocal acts of the '60s.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming