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Sam Moore live at the Highline Ballroom

Posted on 22 February 2010 by Caryn Rose (2)

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It is always hard for me to try to explain what is it, exactly, that moves me so hard with the old soul singers. It was the stuff I was the most drawn to back when I first turned on the radio and listened to the signals floating in from Chicago or Detroit. The stuff I love the most has its heart, its roots, in it. I would kill or die for a good horn section. I could not have fallen in love with someone who didn’t adore Otis Redding. I am closest to people whose idea of dance music is Stax or Motown. It is why I find it hard to resonate with most anything new, and have come to terms with that fact. It is why Greg Dulli can almost do no wrong (if you’ve never heard him singing “Having A Party” solo piano, go find it on the internet now).

And then there is Sam Moore. Sam Moore who got me on a plane 7 years ago to fly 3000 miles with no ticket, Sam Moore who still sings those songs in a way that will break your heart, will make it sing, will give you hope, will take you to church even if you have no religion. It fills you from the feet up, it pulls your head into the clouds. It helped that he had an impeccable band. It helps that the voice is still there, and there are moments when he is at the microphone that you can see the younger version of him (if you’ve seen the old footage), some of the same gestures, traces of the same moves. At the beginning of the show, he was trading vocals with various backing singers and my heart sank a little, thinking that at 74 he couldn’t get through an entire number, but he was just having fun – later in the show, he did that, again and again.

Tell me that this isn’t magic. Tell me that this isn’t something timeless. Watch this bad video of a snippet of “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby” and tell me if it doesn’t melt your icy heart, if it doesn’t give you hope, if it doesn’t make you cry, make you yearn, make you pray. This music is something other, and there is nothing else like it.

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2 Responses to “Sam Moore live at the Highline Ballroom”

  1. Shawn Poole says:

    Caryn, thanks very much for being one of the only sources, if not the only source, for news and insights on this major musical event. I had hoped to travel to NYC with my fourteen-year-old niece to see this all-ages show, but circumstances unfortunately prevented it from happening. I’m very pleased to read that Sam Moore is still in fine form. He certainly sounds great on the video-clip you provided, and the HBO video of his appearance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts last October is earth-shaking.

    Here’s hoping this show eventually leads to a tour, giving more of Sam’s fans a chance to see him live. As you may know already, Sam appeared with his wife Joyce on E Street Radio’s Live from E Street Nation with Dave Marsh on the Friday before this show. They announced the upcoming reissue/”re-marketing” of his 2006 album Overnight Sensational (featuring his duet with Bruce Springsteen on “Better To Have and Not Need”). Perhaps Sam will tour as part of this reissue, giving those of us who missed this show a chance to see him and his band do their stuff.

    The conversation with Marsh was very loose, but also very interesting, funny and moving. Sam, Joyce and Dave discussed Sam’s live performances with Bruce, the stuff that Sam and Bruce recorded for Human Touch that we haven’t heard (yet), Joyce’s efforts to help Jackie Wilson in his final days, etc. For those who missed it, I’ve posted a temporarily available mp3 download of it. It’ll be up for the next fourteen days at this URL:

    https://rcpt.yousendit.com/826927357/164e7ab8cd71d6e21b4843aa454f27dd

    Moore/Springsteen fans may also be interested in checking out Dave Marsh’s brief, interesting book with Sam Moore called For The Record: Sam and Dave – An Oral History (ISBN: 0-380-79375-X).

  2. Shawn Poole says:

    FYI: This from Sirius’ E Street Radio site. I’m not sure if this show is new or has been played before. Either way, it sounds like interesting radio for Springsteen/Moore fans:
    Sam Moore Guest DJs on E Street Radio (Sirius 10/XM 58)
    Tomorrow (Friday, March 19, 2010) 4:00 pm ET
    American Southern Soul & R&B legend, Sam Moore guest djs on E Street Radio playing some of his favorite Bruce songs. Sam talks about recording and performing with Bruce over the years (he was on Bruce’s Human Touch album), listen as he plays songs from Bruce’s library and Sam’s own recent album Overnight Sensational.

    Rebroadcast: Sat 3/20 12:00 am ET; Sat 3/20 8:00 am ET