On October 27, 1979 at New York's Trax club, Southern soul duo Sam & Dave performed a mixture of their hits and less celebrated vintage B-sides. Broadcast on WPIX in New York, these titres include versions of their smashes 'Soul Man,' 'Hold On, I'm Comin',' 'I Thank You,' and 'You Got Me Hummin',' as well as a ten-minute arrangement of the soul classic 'Bring It On Home'.
Sam and Dave were among the most dynamic soul acts of the 1960s, crossing over to the pop charts in a big way with 'Hold On, I'm Comin',' 'I Thank You,' and especially 'Soul Man,' which made #2 in 1967. The hits dried up in the 1970s, and by the end of the decade they weren't releasing new product. They remained a vibrant live act, however, although they'd only have a couple years to go before finally ending their twenty-year run together in 1981. Toward the end of their career, Sam Moore and Dave Prater got a boost when the Blues Brothers (aka John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd of Saturday Night Live) took their cover of 'Soul Man' into the Top Twenty in early 1979. On October 27 of that year, Sam & Dave gave a show at New York's Trax Club, performances from which were broadcast on the city's WPIX-FM. Naturally their three big hits were part of the set, as were some of the lesser-known gems from their prime. After struggling for a few years without a hit while drifting through several record labels in the early 1960s, Sam & Dave hit their stride when they signed to Atlantic.
In the mid-1960s, they recorded in Memphis with personnel at Stax Records (which was distributed by Atlantic), where they had their greatest success with singles produced by the songwriting team of Dave Porter and Isaac Hayes. Porter and Hayes would deliberately raise the key of the songs they supplied to the duo, and as Porter remarked in Rob Bowman's Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records, 'Sam used to hate me for that.I always kept him reaching. That was part of the magic. It was high for him but he had some of the greatest pipes that I ever knew.
'I felt if you were right above where you could be [comfortably], then the anxiety and the frustrations and the soul of what I thought needed to be captured out of those songs would come through. I always noticed with the Motown records, the singers were so comfortable, the melodies were so comfortable. I wanted us to have a little different kind of edge and I thought that gave us that.Struggling for you to get there would only enhance you to get the soul. Even though they would get pissed at me pushing them like that.
Propriétés de l'article: Sam & Dave: Live At Trax, New York 1979 (CD)
Hundreds of soul-singing duos modeled themselves after Sam & Dave. But Sam Moore and Dave Prater had one crucial element in their hitmaking arsenal that set them apart: the songwriting and production team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter.
Sam & Dave came by their melismatic tendencies naturally. Born in Miami on October 12, 1935, Sam Moore was a member of a local doo-wop outfit, The Majestics, that made a '56 single for Henry Stone's Marlin label, but he honed his lead singing with two local gospel quartets, The Gales and The Melionaires. Born May 9, 1937 in Ocilla, Georgia, Prater arrived in Miami to sing in his brother J.T.'s sanctified quartet, The Sensational Hummingbirds. Yet both eventually went a secular route.
Sam found a job as a singer and amateur night emcee at a Miami nightspot, the King of Hearts, and Dave came in one night in late 1961 to compete. Prater wanted to sing Sam Cooke's Wonderful World, but the band didn't know it, so he settled on Jackie Wilson's Doggin' Around. But Prater didn't know the words, so Moore started singing it with him. When Sam nearly knocked the mic stand over, both young singers fell to their knees to grab it without missing a beat, electrifying the crowd. The club owner immediately offered them a gig if they'd team up. Sam & Dave were officially born.
The duo cut their first pair of singles for Henry Stone's Marlin label, their young producer Steve Alaimo a popular Miami singer himself. Roulette Records owner Morris Levy picked up the 45s and the duo too. "We got with a recording company, and we were able to get a Sam & Dave sound together,” says Moore. A half-dozen 1962-63 Roulette singles later, they remained hitless. Their live act dazzled Atlantic Records boss Jerry Wexler, but instead of producing them in New York, he shipped them off to record in Memphis at Atlantic-distributed Stax. There they encountered Hayes and Porter, just getting their feet wet as a house writing and production team.
"They had their songs going, but they didn't have an artist to do them,” says Sam. "So they joined us and made it a foursome.” The hits started flowing in 1966: You Don't Know Like I Know preceded Hold On, I'm Comin', an R&B chart-topper that made a #21 pop showing. Legend has it that the title line was the result of Porter responding to an impatient Hayes while in the Stax washroom. "It was originally 'I'm Coming,' which was kind of suggestive,” says Sam. "They had to turn it around to make it 'Hold On, I'm Comin'.'” The Sunday morning revival meeting vocals of Moore and Prater were driven hard by brisk horns and drummer Al Jackson, Jr.'s piledriving backbeat. At last, Sam & Dave were on their way.
- Bill Dahl -
Various - Sweet Soul Music
Various - Sweet Soul Music 29 Scorching Classics From 1966