Saturday, September 02, 2006

Overnight Sensational

Sam Moore is an honest-to-Aretha soul survivor. As half of Sam & Dave…along with the late Dave Prater…Moore created some of the most indelible R&B records of the Sixties…including “When Something is Wrong with my Baby”, “Hold On, I’m Comin’”, and the immortal “Soul Man”.

Moore has been a revered soul man making appearances on record every now and again...perhaps most notably his fine duet on “Rainy Night in Georgia” with the late, great Conway Twitty on the under-appreciated 1994 soul/country crossover collection Rhythm, County, and Blues.

Overnight Sensational is not a solo album…it is, instead, a Genius Loves Company- style series of collaborations between Moore and some of his many friends and admirers. Producer Randy Jackson (yeah, the “hipster” dork from American Idol) frames the vocalists in a sturdy, but not oppressive, musical foundation that keeps them right up front where they belong.

Wynonna Judd is in fine soulful fettle…a great match for Moore…on the opening track, Ann Peebles’ oft-covered “I Can’t Stand the Rain” (with Billy Preston on keyboards and Bekka Bramlett & BeBe Winans on backing vocals) while Bruce Springsteen channels his inner gospel man on the boisterous “Better to Have and Not Need”.

Moore and Fantasia rescue “Blame it on the Rain” from its ignominy of being a Milli Vanilli hit with an infusion of solid soul. Jon Bon Jovi joins Moore for a credible cover of the old Bobby Womack hit “Lookin’ for a Love”.

Moore and Steve Winwood sound utterly grand together on the propulsive “Ain’t No Love” (featuring some nice keyboard work by Winwood) while Sting steps up to the plate to join Moore on “None of Us Are Free” (which also features Sheila E. on percussion.)

Moore takes the lead on a heartfelt cover of Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe” with some wonderful background vocals by the unlikely combination of Vince Gill and Mariah Carey.

“Don’t Play That Song”, a hit for the immortal Aretha, is revived to wonderful, soulful effect in a jumpin’ duet between Moore and Bekka Bramlett.

Perhaps the most surprising song on the disc is a funky cover of Tony Toni Tone’s “If I Had No Loot” featuring vocals by Nikka Costa and Van Hunt along with some tasty guitar work by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.

Moore and Travis Tritt make a fine pair on soul-infused cover of “Riding Thumb”, an obscure Seals & Crofts ode to hitchhiking. Robert Randolph ups the energetic ante with some grand pedal steel guitar work. Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers joins in on a soaring gospel-infused take on Garth Brook’s brotherhood anthem “We Shall Be Free”.

The final cut on the album is a heartfelt version of the late Billy Preston’s “You Are So Beautiful” (made famous by Joe Cocker’s version) featuring Preston (whom Moore describes as his best friend) on vocals, Eric Clapton with a sweetly mournful guitar solo, Robert Randolph on steel guitar, and Italian R&B star Zucchero on background vocals. It’s a lovely tribute and sweet coda to the collection.

Moore is in fine voice throughout and seems to be having a great deal of fun (as do his collaborators.) Overnight Sensational is a fine, fun album.


Very Anonymous Mike said...

I just listened to the 30 second samples on, and I don't Michael describe the gold that this album is. This is a wow like Stevie Wonder's "Natural Wonder" is.

If you don't believe me, go listen.

Anonymous said...

Jay Michaels
Rewind the Rhythm Love 97 FM Nassau Bahamas and Worldwide Syndication

Sam has been a personal friend of mine for over 30 years. So when the advance was sent to me a couple of months before the release for an "honest" critique this was a tough one for me.
Why? Well two-fold, when you are friends with an artist it sometimes is difficult to listen objectively, in other words you simply want to love it.

So, I first played a few cuts for a demographic of people who never even heard of Sam and Dave and who vaguely remember the Blues Brothers for that matter. So, here an unbiased audience who had no idea who Sam Moore was, loved it!

That was my barometer, then I sat in quiet with the headphones on and listened, I listened to it faithfully for a week in the car listening to every single cut over and over again and when all was said and done I said, WOW!

Truly, and in the style of the late Tom Dowd, Randy Jackson captured the man who has been my friend 'lo these many years, I heard the Sam that I sit and talk with the Sam that laughs and sings with his friends, this is pure genius.

If radio programmers miss this one it is their loss as this album will be a hit just by the magic of it playing in the air!

Sam Moore, far from an overnight sensation is SENSATIONAL on "Overnight Sensational!"

Rob Carruthers said...

How amazing that it has taken Rhino to recognise the talent Sam Moore has, for this to be his first solo album for over 30 years is a disgrace. Anyone listening to this soulful music will instantly recognise that they have missed out on what might have been if Sam had been recording all these past years. A wonderful album!