Friday, October 20, 2006

Drive Home Review #1

Sam Moore - Overnight Sensational
I'd read a few reviews and then I saw this cd at Target for $9.99. A bit over 3 gallons of gas. Was it worth a walk instead of a drive? Yes.

As part Sam & Dave, Sam Moore has obviously been around and "in", as "in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame". Sam & Dave split up multiple times and finally called it quits in 1981, just after a New Year’s Eve performance. Dave Prater was killed in a car accident in 1998 and Mr. Moore had an on-again off-again solo career. He’s lived the life and is still around to sing about it. His latest album, Overnight Sensational features songs sung the way his fame was created. Namely, using the vehicle of Duets. The album was produced by Randy (Yes! The judge from American Idol) Jackson. He does quite a commendable job on (most of) the tracks.

The Blow by Blow
Twelve songs.
Five solid play-them-multiple-times-and-you-can’t-kill-them songs.
One solid clunker.
One bone of contention.
Six other good songs that you may have the urge to skip through on occasion.

Five Solid songs:
1) I CAN'T STAND THE RAIN - WYNONNA with SAM MOORE: A tough song to do since there are at least two versions out there that are superb, Lowell George's (my personal favorite) and then the song’s composer, Ann Peebles, version. But Mr. Moore and Wynonna come through loud and clear… as do the excellent musicians backing them up.

2) BETTER TO HAVE AND NOT NEED - BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN with SAM MOORE: This is a shout out Sunday Meeting rendition that will have you converted to something. Anything.

3) AIN'T NO LOVE - STEVE WINWOOD with SAM MOORE: With Hammond B-3 quips throughout, Mr. Winwood’s distinctive voice, at times, overloads Mr. Moore's. The latter doesn't seem to mind as Mr. Winwood dominates this song. But, it's a live-and-let-live domination, so the song ends without any bad feelings or screechings. Next to the following song, I'd say this is my album favorite.

4) DON'T PLAY THAT SONG (YOU LIED) - BEKKA BRAMLETT with SAM MOORE: Bekka Bramlett, daughter of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, does her folks proud here (although Bekka could never come close to equalling Bonnie for a guy’s admiration (read down toward the bottom of the link re. a "s***ty bar in Columbus, Ohio"). That Bonnie was quite a gal. But this is about Bekka, whose strong voice melds well with Mr. Moore’s. A high degree of energy is generated.

5) IF I HAD NO LOOT - VAN HUNT and NIKKA COSTA with SAM MOORE Special guest BILLY F. GIBBONS (guitar): I'd heard Van Hunt via my son's collection of hip-hop and rat-a-tat music, but Ms. Costa was a mystery. This song is an ear worm; you will be humming or singing it at some inappropriate time of the day. All of the performers had WAY too much fun coming up with this song. As a trio, the singers share the verses well while playing off each other in a mutual admiration club sort of way.

One Solid Clunker:

The J. Geils Band put out this live album back in 1972-73. A great album. One of the best live recordings, ever. They did a cover of "Looking for a Love" that still blows me away. Mr. Moore and Mr. Jackson do not concoct even a serviceable version. Then, Mr. Bon Jovi is thrown into the effort. A disaster. He simply doesn't have the pipes or the attitooooode for this song. If he was singing about looking for a parking space, I'd understand. Mr. Jackson should have teamed up Mr. Moore with this fellow and then added a bit more tension and frantic need to this song and it would have been at least listenable. But you, yeah, you the reader, should check out Magic Dick and Peter Wolf on Full House for what this song is really about.

One Bone of Contention:

I'm not what you'd classify as a "Kumbaya" kind of guy. So, when I listened to WE SHALL BE FREE - PAUL RODGERS with SAM MOORE and then NONE OF US ARE FREE - STING with SAM MOORE Special guest SHEILA E. (percussion), my first thought was, "O.K., let's draw straws. Which one's got to go?". An album like this should not have any of these types of songs, but if you want to be gracious of the heart..well, o.k. let's let one in. One. There's two. Two leave me with a cranky attitude toward the,other songs which is why I just group them as Six other good songs and leave it at that. And while I'm on the harangue circuit, there are two songs with the word "Rain" in the title. That's just too much water for one cd. If there was a song with "Tears" instead of "Rain", the wetness quota would not have been exceded.


Hmmm, J. Geils Band made one of the best live recordings ever? Really? All I can remember of their concert is Freeze Frame. I always think of them as a one album wonder. But throw Bon Jovi into the mix and, meh!

I'm still trying to imagine Steve Winwood w/ Sam Moore...guess I'll just have to listen to the CD to figure that one out.

Nice review. Very comprehensive and compelling enough to make me want to give it a listen. Thanks!
An excellent start to an excellent concept, DV. Pitchfork, look out. The car is the only place I sit down to listen to music these days. It's where I go to hear my long-time favourites, the new stuff I picked off the shelf, the critical darlings that caught my eye, or the stranger stuff recommended to me by friends, It is the only place I can be depended upon to hear a disc from beginning to end (provided I'm driving to the city, or someplace further away).

As for Mr. Moore, I was a little disappointed to see him come up with a "duets" concept album. There is the issue of the second singer to contend with (Mr. Bon Jovi's agent is, I'm sure, expecting a fine Christmas bonus this year). And ever since The Chairman did it, those things have started to sound like the chosen artist's swan song (don't you have one more solo album in you, Tony?), and I'm hoping Mr. Moore will be around to release a few more CDs.

Re: J. Geils, I'm guessing Gwynne is too young to remember the live album you mention. I, too, remember "Freeze Frame", but only as a depressing footnote to a band that once knew how to deliver real blues-based rock & roll (and harmonica solos you actually wanted to listen to). But "Freeze Frame" was also of the same grim era when Peter Cetera took over Chicago, and I won't fault a band for wanting one last shot at making it big.
Argh - looks like blogger beta wants me to stay "anonymous". Never!
Re: the duet theme, is this a trend of late? It works better for some (Ray Charles) than others (BB King).

And yes, I'm far too young to remember J. Geils as anything but an 80's pop-rock band. ;-) Sounds like I would have enjoyed the other. I was born in the wrong era. I listen to Charlie Musselwhite for my harmonica solos. ;-)
J. Geils Band an 80's pop-rock band? AIYYEEEE!! Sorry, I stopped listening to them way beofre Freeze Frame. These guys (seriously) were a fabulous blues band...until they actually wanted to make money, right around the same time that some group called Aerosmith, also from the Boston area, pointed them toward the moolah.

While I love Mr. MUsselwhite and, if you're talking about harp-playing, Big Walter Horton, Carey Bell, , William Clarke, Rod Piazza, George "Harmonica" Smith,or James Cotton have to mentioned as well. But, seriously, Magic Dick was a dynamite harp player as well. I got a chance to see J. Geils when, (this will sound wrong) B.B. King opened for them. Just a footnote, the band was extremely apologetic about this to Mr. King, who, charateristcially, poo-pooed the need for any apology. The band was smoking and Magic Dick was fabulous.

Again, all pre- Freeze Frame. FOr me, Bloodshot was the last good album and I gave up on the group shortly afterwards.

But, pop-rock?? Oh, Gwynne, that really hurts.
WP, About your disappointment about Sam Moore's "duets" concept, I'm wondering, based on some intensive car-listening, if he would be able to hold an album completely on his own. My vote is "No". I do agree with you and Gwynne about the whole album being duets. My vote would have been to have him do at least 2 songs by himself and to redcue the # of folks participating in the duets. I was pleasantly surprised, though, with how Mr. Jackson produced the album. There's a high coltage all the way through. My only complaint was some of the bridge changes in a few of the songs.
Yea for Snoopy and the Sopwith Camels!
J. Geils Band an 80's pop-rock band?

Well, I didn't mean like ABBA-pop. That would really hurt!

BB King opened for J. Geils? OH, the humanity!

I like your list of harp players. I've seen Rod Piazza and Musselwhite perform a couple of times and would love to see James Cotton before he dies (he's still performing, isn't he?). I will give Magic Dick a listen and get back to you. He better be good. ;-)
Saw Rod Piazza a couple of times as well; most of my blues buddies seemed to be way too interested in the piano stylings of his lovely wife, Honey. Saw Musselwhite w/ Dr. John. Wish I'd seen William Clarke while he was still around; heard he put on a great show. Saw James Cotton a few times, but he's a lot like Buddy Guy. When he's on, hes' fabulous. When he's not, you're looking for a quick exit and a refund.

If you ever get a chance to se Wallace Coleman, he's worth checking out. Thin older fellow with a powerful set of lungs. His young wife's appearance at shows makes it seem he's got energy to spare.

As far as Magic Dick....I stand by Full House as a great live album with wonderful harmonica playing. Now, Gwynnne, Live doe mena you have to crank this baby up! if the neighbours aren't calling 911, the volume's too low. If you're out in the country, moose and elk should be responding with mating calls.
Heh. I know what you're saying about Buddy Guy. The last time I saw him, Susan Tedechi (sp?) opened for him and ended up stealing the show.

Okay, fine...I'll crank it up! I usually listen in my car also, so no worries about neighbors or mating elk calls. ;-)
I hoped I could attract some moose and elk, unfortunately the linked Full House audio files do not want to crack open and play upon a click... I want my moose!
A good review but there are a few things I have to disagree with. Sam Moore/Jon Bon Jovi a clunker? It's the only song I listen to over and over. It grows and they have a real rapport. I think it's just a different take on the song than we are used to. I was really looking forward to Sam and Bruce (of whom I am a big fan) and was disappointed with the outcome, it seemed a bit stilted or something so I have to disagree there too. And what's with doing a cover of Blame it on the rain???
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