Sam & Dave Biography

Samuel David Moore (12 October 1935, Miami, Florida, USA) and David Prater (b. 9 May 1937, Ocilla, Georgia, USA, d. 9 April 1988). Sam And Dave first performed together in 1961 at Miami’s King Of Hearts club. Moore originally sang in his father’s Baptist church before joining the Melonaires, while Prater, who had worked with the Sensational Hummingbirds, was also gospel-trained. Club-owner John Lomelo became the duo’s manager and was instrumental in securing their contract with Roulette. Five singles and one album subsequently appeared between 1962 and 1964, produced by R&B veteran Henry Glover, but it was not until Jerry Wexler signed Sam And Dave to Atlantic Records that their true potential blossomed. For political reasons, their records appeared on Stax Records; they used the Memphis-based house band, while many of their strongest moments 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), featuring Prater’s gritty delivery and Moore’s higher interjections, were among the genre’s finest.

When Stax and Atlantic separated in 1968, Sam And Dave reverted to the parent company, but a disintegrating personal relationship seemed to mirror their now decaying fortune. The amazing ‘Soul Sister, Brown Sugar’ (1969) delayed the slide, but the duo split briefly the next year when Sam Moore began his own career. Three solo singles followed, but the pair were reunited by a contract with United Artists Records. A renewed profile, on the strength of the Blues Brothers’ success with ‘Soul Man’, faltered when the differences between the two men proved irreconcilable. By 1981, Moore was again pursuing an independent direction, but his sole chart success came when he was joined by Lou Reed for a remake of ‘Soul Man’ six years later. Prater found a new foil in the ‘Sam’ of Sam And Bill, but before they were able to consolidate this new partnership, Prater died in a car crash on 9 April 1988. Sam Moore, in the meantime, carried on working consistently all over the world, notably on luxury cruise-liners. In 2001, some master tapes of solo material recorded in 1970 were discovered and issued the following year. A fully-fledged solo album, Overnight Sensational, followed in 2006.

The best duo in the history of soul music, Sam And Dave released records that combined urgency with an unbridled passion.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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