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Cream of The Crate: Album Review # 197 – Sam and Dave: The Best Of

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cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of

cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of

 

  This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.

 

"Sam Moore and Dave Prater's string of soul and pop hits made them the '60s' most successful black vocal duo." -(The Rolling Stone Encyclopaedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001) .. .. .. "Sam & Dave created some of their century's most enduring music in the pop form." - (Stylus Magazine January 2007) .. .. .. "There can be no argument that as a duo, Sam and Dave introduced the previously successful sound of the black church music, so successfully to pop music." - (This review)

This is album retro-review number 197 in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl and Cd albums in my collection.

The series is called
“Cream of The Crate” and each review represents an album that I believe is of significant musical value, either because of it’s rarity, because it represents the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group/artist or the music.

Links to the previous 150 reviews can be found at the bottom of this review.

So much excellent R&B came out on the Atlantic label in the 1950’s and 1960’s and over the time Cream of The Crate has been published, we have visited the Atlantic label many times.

Once again as i dig into my vinyl album crate, it’s another Atlantic album that comes out.

The artists are Same and Dave and the vinyl album is titled – The Best Of.

Released on the Atlantic label in 1984 it has the identifying code of 81279 -1. It only has 12 tracks but includes their best known releases.

cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of

Sam was born Samuel David Moore on the 12th October 1935 in Miami, Florida) and DaveDavid Prater, was born on the 9th of May 1937 in Ocilla, Georgia.

cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of
Dave Prater – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Sam originally sang in his father’s Baptist church before joining a group called the Melonaires, while Dave was actually gospel-trained and worked with the Sensational Hummingbirds.

It was R&B that brought the two singers together onstage at Miami’s King of Hearts nightclub one fateful amateur night.

Before that night they had never met and further, if not for a chance meeting with Club-owner, John Lomelo, they may have never risen to the great heights they achieved.

It was Lomelo who became the duo’s manager and was instrumental in securing their contract with the Roulette label.

Between the years 1962 and 1964 they recorded five singles and one album, all produced by R&B veteran Henry Glover.

However, when Jerry Wexler signed Sam And Dave to Atlantic Records, their true potential was revealed and they were given a platform to to build a fantastic musical career on.

 

cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of
Sam & Dave

 

For political reasons, their records initially appeared on Stax Records and, they used the Memphis-based house band.

Many of their strongest tracks came from the Isaac Hayes / David Porter staff writing team. You Don’t Know Like I Know, Hold On I’m Comin’ (both 1966), Soul Man (1967) and I Thank You (1968).

They all featured Prater’s gritty delivery and Moore’s higher interjections.

They developed a beautiful balance of black church music and commercial pop music to the stage and translated it perfectly to recordings. On stage the two were one and the developed a wonderful stage presentation where they would constantly play off each other.

Along with the use of a full horn backing group, duel drummers and dancers, it really resulted in the complete show.

cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of
Sam & Dave: The apparent closeness on stage was not reflected off. – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Yet in an amazing twist of irony, they didn’t ever developed a real friendship and it is variously reported that they rarely spoke off-stage.

By June of 1970 they called it a day!

Their style had fallen out of favour and neither man had the heart to keep going. They variously came together and parted for a series of reunions and they certainly reminded everyone of their abilities when they performed Hold On I’m Coming in the 1979 classic Blues Brothers movie.

Sam and Dave finally called it quits after a performance in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve, 1981.

Some seven years later Dave Prater was killed in an auto accident on April 9, 1988.

cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of
Dave’s headstone – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Sam Moore continues to perform as a solo act.

cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of
A recent picture of Sam Moore – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

In a 1983 interview with the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Moore admitted that he had been a drug addict for 12 years and that the main reason for his feud with his ex-partner was, that he’d “lost respect” for him after Prater shot his own wife during a 1968 domestic dispute.

Prater escaped prosecution in that instance, but in 1987 he was arrested for selling crack to an undercover cop and sentenced to three years’ probation. [The Rolling Stone Encyclopaedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001].

Track Listing:

Side 1

1. Hold On, I’m Comin’
2. You Don’t Know Like I Know
3. Soul Man
4. Soothe Me
5. When Something Is Wrong With My Baby
6. Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell N
obody

Side 2

1. You Got Me Hummin’
2. I Take What I Want
3. Wrap It Up
4. Soul Sister, Brown Sugar
5. Can’t You Find Another Way (Of Doing It)
6. I Thank You


cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of
Rear cover – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

When you combine the talents of Sam and Dave, Booker T. and the MG’s and the duo’s most illustrious songwriting team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter you end up with the most brilliant music.

So it is that the album kicks off with what is surely their signature tune – Hold On I’m Coming.

Hold On I’m Coming is supposed to have come out of a rather strange incident when songwriter/producer David Porter was in the toilet, his songwriting partner Isaac Hayes yelled at him to hurry up so they could get back to work, as he was frustrated by the lack of progress they had made that day.

Porter responded, “Hold on man, I’m coming.”

The immediately inspired Porter quickly finished his business and excitedly told Hayes that “Hold On, I’m Coming” would be a great title for a song. Hayes has repeated this story in various interviews over the years.

cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of
[CLICK to enlarge]

 

The title is suggestive of something often heard in the bedroom and as a result, when it was released the song was deemed too suggestive to go air by many radio stations.

Asa result a brilliant track stalled at #21 in the US.

However, the lyrics are actually quite innocent, with the duo offering emotional support to help the lady through some tough times – what could be wrong with that?

Don’t you ever be sad,
Lean on me when times are bad.
When the day comes and you’re down,
In a river of trouble and about to drown

Just hold on, I’m comin’,
Hold on, I’m comin’.

I’m on my way, your lover.
If you get cold I’ll be your cover.
Don’t have to worry `cause I’m here,
No need to suffer baby, I’m here.

Just hold on, I’m comin’,
Hold on, I’m comin’.
Hold on, I’m comin’,
Hold on, I’m comin’.
(Lookie here)
Reach out to me for satisfaction,
(Lookie here. All you got to do)Call my name now for quick reaction.

Don’t you ever be sad,
Lean on me when the times are bad.
When the day comes and you’re down baby,
In a river of trouble and about to drown,

Just hold on, I’m comin’,
Hold on, I’m comin’
Just hold on, don’t you worry, I’m comin’,(here ya come)
Hold on, I’m comin’.

Just hold on, don’t you worry I’m comin’,
Hold on, I’m comin’.

Hold On I’m Coming

Now let’s be clear. Every track on this album is righteously included. There are no dud tracks, so, I have just picked out the one’s that are either my favourites or are particularly notable.

Track 3 is Soul Man.

The track is quite a masterpiece of writing by Hayes and Porter and brought to life by Sam and Dave.

cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of
[CLICK to enlarge]
Reaching number 2 it was in fact their first real hit. It is worth remembering that when this track was released in 1967, black pride was on the rise, and this track totally supports that rise in what is a definitive statement.

 

The tracks reeks of the backing of the Stax house band. It has the punch, the horns and Steve Croppers understated but superb guitar.

Hey there is not a surplus note played and along with the excitement that Sam and Dave bring to the delivery, it means we have excitement for all of 2minutes and 37 seconds.

The track went on to become a Grammy winning one and a highlight of their live performances.

Soul Man

Track 4 was written and performed originally by the great Sam Cook and covered by many artists.

Sooth Me is given a fresh lease of life when Sam and Dave tackled it.

Released as a single in 1967 Soothe Me was recorded in Paris during the ’67 tour and then later released as a single in mid-1967. It features some sublime harmonies.

It is one of those tracks just makes you feel really good.

Soothe Me

Before I end up playing all the tracks on Side 1, I turned it over and my eyes fell immediately on track 4Soul Sister, Brown Sugar.

This track came from what is called The “Atlantic Years” [1968 – 1972].

The track was the first single of the year and it returned Sam and Dave to the R&B top 20, and, was a #15 hit in the UK. In fact it turned out to be the last single the duo ever had that cracked the top 20 in any chart.

cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of

 

Yet the thing about Sam and Dave is not so much the facts and figures, it is the music.

Soul Sister, Brown Sugar is one of those tracks that it is so hard to not move along to, and, why fight it?

Just as a matter of fact, as you listen the tenor voice is Sam and the tenor/bass is Dave. Call me old fashioned but I think it’s pretty damn fine to hear women called soul sister brown sugar, instead of todays artists description of women as bitches and ho’s!

You’re sweeter than the honey that the bees make
Soul sister, you’re brown sugar
Sweeter than the icing on the best cake
Soul sister, you’re brown sugar

Soul Sister, Brown Sugar

So to the final track of the album, track 6 on Side 2I Thank You.

It’s 1968 and so while it’s still the “Atlantic Years”, the track was not released under the Atlantic label.

Yet, Sam & Dave again charted with the gospel-inspired I Thank You which was backed up with Wrap it Up“. The track leaped to number 4 on the R&B Charts and number 9 on the Pop charts.

Critics commented that the B-side Wrap it Up could have been a separate successful single but it never happened as the duo were so busy touring.

In fact Hayes & Porter traveled to Europe to record the track, Wrap it Up in order to release the single.

Due to the end of the distribution agreement between Stax and Atlantic Records in May 1968, I Thank You was Sam and Dave’s final single on Stax.

Even so they continued to work at Stax with Hayes and Porter. In fact by May of 1968, the duo’s work was released on Atlantic Records on albums, such as the one we are looking at.

I Thank You sold over one million copies, earning it gold record status.

It’s a funky, heavy drum and bass driven track with the mean horn section sound!!!

I Thank You

I was introduced to Sam and Dave by Chris Stockely, who I met in 1964. He had not long arrived from the UK to settle in Australia (in fact he eventually he ended up in bands such as Cam-Pact and The Dingoes – just to name two of many).

Anyway, he bought with him a whole lot of “new” music. Now “we” were just becoming immersed in the the wave after wave of the British Beat music.

But thanks to Chris he introduced us to the the “original” music, and the music of one of those artists was Sam and Dave.

I was hooked for life!

Now there can be no argument that as a duo Sam and Dave introduced the previously successful sound of the black church music in a very successfully pop form of music.

This allowed many more white folk to connect and Sam and Dave who were like musical “Seirenes (Sirens)”.

Sam Moore still performs as a solo act today, and still performs some of the Sam and Dave material, yet as good as he might still be, there is no replacing Dave!

cream of the crate: album review # 197 – sam and dave: the best of
[CLICK to enlarge]

 

7=The downside to this album is that it basically stops at the prime Stax material. Now while that represents probably the best music period for the duo, there was interesting music that came later.

However this music can be found on one of many extensive compilations that came in later years.

Yet what The Best of Sam and Dave provides is, 12 tracks of pure brilliant Sam and Dave at the height of their popularity. In fact maybe there is a decent argument to say, when they were at the top of their ability.

Now to confuse matters, Atlantic released many versions of this album but two distinctly different versions. This with one 12 tracks can be found on Discogs for around $22.00 and a version with two additional tracks – which “may” be a better deal although I have never heard it, brings between $3.00 and $40.00.


VIDEOS:

Here is a selection of live performances by Sam and Dave as taken from Youtube. I try to feature clips of the music not provided in this review to listen to, but on this occasion I had to include “Hold On I’m Coming”, because not only is it a top track, a great performance but it does feature most of the original players on the recording.

 

 

Hold On I’m Coming

 

You Don’t Know Like I Know

 

When Something Is Wrong With My Baby

 

I Take What I Want (Colour)

 


Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:

 

To view/listen the first 50 vinyl album reviews just click the image below –

cream of the crate cd review #2 : robert johnson – the complete recordings

 

To view/listen the first 50 Cd album reviews just click the image below –

 

To view/listen album reviews 101 – 150 just click the image below –

 

Click to open the following reviews covering #’s 151 onward.

#151.  The Shaggs – Philosophy of the World

#152.  The Animals – The Animals

#153. Omah Khorshid & His Group  – Live In Australia 1981

#154. Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Edgar Allan Poe

#155. Billy Thorpe – Tangier

#156. Aretha Franklin – The Best Of

#157. Big Bill Broonzy – Big Bill’s Blues

#158. The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go 

#159. The Band – Stage Fright

#160. Ray Brown and the Whispers – Hits and More 1965 – 1968

#161. Guitar Junior – The Crawl

#162. Jimi Hendrix – Radio One

#163. Memphis Minnie – Queen of the Blues

#164. Eno – Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy)

#165. The Loved Ones – Magic Box

#166. Various Artists – On The Road Again [ An Anthology of Chicago Blues 1947 – 1954]

#167. Janis Joplin – Greatest Hits 

#168. David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust [The Motion Picture]

#169. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication

#170.  Chain – Two Of A Kind

#171. Bob Marley – Legend

#172. Koko Taylor – What It Takes

#173. Stevie Wonder – Original Musiquarium

#174. Various Artists – The Unissued 1963 Blues Festival

#175. Noeleen Batley – Little Treasure

#176. B.B. King – The Best Of

#177. Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac

#178 – Memphis Slim – I Feel So Good

#179. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Live at Budapest

#180. Flowers – Icehouse

#181. Joe Tex – The Best Of

#182. Chicago [Transit Authority] – Chicago Transit Authority

#183. Deep Purple – The Deep Purple Singles

#184. The Doobie Brothers – Best Of The Doobies

#185. Dig Richards – Jive After Five

#186. The Stereo MC’s – Connected

#187. Ricky Nelson – All My Best

#188. Frank Frost – Jelly Roll King

#189. Lonnie Mack – Memphis Wham

#190. Madder Lake – Stillpoint

#191. Carol Kaye and the Hitmen – Guitars 1965

#192. Dion and the Belmonts – Everything You Always Wanted To Hear

#193. The Beatles – Rubber Soul

#194. Sleep John Estes – Jailhouse Blues

#195. Rob E. G. – All His Hits [ The Festival File Vol. 3]

#196. Ma Rainey – Ma Rainey

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