Sam Moore live at the Highline Ballroom
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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Tags: sam moore