Sam Moore - Overnight Sensational (2006)

Sam Moore
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In the last few years we've seen a couple types of "comeback" albums for classic soul artists.  Thoughtful, critically-acclaimed organic discs by Percy Sledge, Candi Staton and Solomon Burke, and Starbucks-ized, musically suspect extravaganzas like Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company.  One half of the legendary duo Sam & Dave, Sam Moore still sounds great in his 60s, and would appear the perfect candidate for a comeback.  Unfortunately, his new all-star release, Overnight Sensational, has many of the marks of Charles' Genius.  Rather than focusing on Moore's formidable talents as a soulful song stylist, Overnight is an over-the-top affair that tries, through its disparate duets partners, to appeal to nearly every possible listener, from country (Travis Tritt, Wynonna, Vince Gill), to rock (Jon Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen) to modern R&B (Fantasia, Mariah Carey), and producer Randy Jackson (yes, that Randy Jacks

In the last few years we've seen a couple types of "comeback" albums for classic soul artists.  Thoughtful, critically-acclaimed organic discs by Percy Sledge, Candi Staton and Solomon Burke, and Starbucks-ized, musically suspect extravaganzas like Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company.  One half of the legendary duo Sam & Dave, Sam Moore still sounds great in his 60s, and would appear the perfect candidate for a comeback.  Unfortunately, his new all-star release, Overnight Sensational, has many of the marks of Charles' Genius.  Rather than focusing on Moore's formidable talents as a soulful song stylist, Overnight is an over-the-top affair that tries, through its disparate duets partners, to appeal to nearly every possible listener, from country (Travis Tritt, Wynonna, Vince Gill), to rock (Jon Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen) to modern R&B (Fantasia, Mariah Carey), and producer Randy Jackson (yes, that Randy Jackson) attempts to make up for the disc's lack of cohesion and personality by simply turning the volume up to eleven.  Song selection is also iffy on the disc, with decent moments like "Riding Thumb" (with Tritt) and "Ain't No Love" (with Steve Winwood) being offset by scratch-your-head pieces such as "We Shall Be Free," arguably the worst song that Garth Brooks ever wrote or recorded.  Moore is a strong enough performer that his distinctive wail and the general familiarity of the songs makes Overnight Sensational listenable.  But both Sam Moore's talent and the legacy of Sam & Dave deserved something more, well, soulful.

By Chris Rizik

 
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