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Friday, October 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sam Moore!

posted by on October 12 at 8:38 AM


Disclaimer: I have no idea why The Stranger tapped me for Line Out duty. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve written exactly one worthwhile thing in my life, and it’s right here. (Fast forward to 3:05 remaining on the clock.):

With that out of the way, let’s begin, shall we?

Stax Records legend Sam Moore turns 72 years old today.

Moore had ten straight top 20 R&B hits in the late 60s as half of Sam and Dave (including seminal soul staples “Hold On! I’m Comin,” “I Thank You,” and “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”), but Iómuch like you, I’m guessingówasn’t even born back over yonder. My first Sam and Dave memory is the use of “Hold On!” in 1980’s The Blues Brothers movie, which I didn’t even see until 1986.

Speaking of 1986, that’s when Sam Moore re-recorded his most well known S&D tune “Soul Man” for the movie of the same name. The film’s complex plot involved honky C. Thomas Howell taking a shitload of tanning pills to scam a Harvard scholarship earmarked for black applicants. Fair enough. That’s how I crashed the Ivy League. But what’s with the cover of this R&B benchmark.

As you can see, not a good move. Moore sounds as jubilant and celebratory as ever on this clumsy remake of his signature song. But Lou Freakin’ Reed? Forget the fact that the man was in the toilet back then. The real problem is that Lou has not one iota of soul or vocal salesmanship. Lou “Heroin” Reed as your funky boyfriend? Not if he was the last immigrant grocer on earth, honey! Still, it’s funny to watch the former Velvets frontman prowling around the edges of the song, waiting to pounce on it with his flat, dry voice. On top of all that, his wavy hand-dance dance moves near the end leave a lot to be desired.

The video manages to offset this deficit by having wacky cameos by the likes of Jamie Farr, Gumby, Elvira, Sha Na Na, Bruce Willis, and Cybil Shepherd. Such a stunt worked for the Ghostbusters video two years previous, right? Luckily, this is not the highlight of our birthday boy’s career.

Instead, that pinnacle would finally be achieved in 1996, when he gave permission for “Soul Man” to be used by the Bob Dole presidential campaign. “I’m A Dole Man” was a hit with the blue staters, but not with the songwriter who held the copyright privileges. Thus, Moore’s permission was rendered irrelevant, but the lyrics like this are timeless.

Coming to you
On a muddy road
I got a truck load

And when you get ‘em
Give back some
So don’t you worry
‘Cause Bob’s running

I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man

Got where he got
The easy way
And he gets richer
Each and every day

And he hates Bill
From Little Rock
And when he starts
He can’t stop

I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man

Just go to vote
And he’ll get in
You got no hope
The Congress is Republican

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

The classics never die. Politicians just co-opt them. Happy birthday, Sam!

RSS icon Comments



Stranger, please hire Jason Josephs.

Posted by Jeff | October 12, 2007 8:47 AM

Jason is awesome. His blog is awesome. Give him a column already.

Posted by Agnes Cake | October 12, 2007 8:58 AM

Hell yes! Throw my hat into the "Draft Josephus" campaign. With the caveat that he has to also keep his day (night?) job at the Blue Moon in order to stay "street".

I am in love.

Posted by BillyCorazon | October 12, 2007 9:14 AM

I've been in the I Heart Jason Josephes camp for ages now. Back off, boys!

I thought I might be the first one to post this morning (it's not even 11), but man, you guys are earlier risers than the regular crowd.

Posted by Levislade | October 12, 2007 10:37 AM

Jason Josephes is worth more than a ton of Grandys and Selings. I'd even throw a couple of Levins and a Matos in there just to be fair.

Your publication doesn't deserve him.

Posted by Matt Brown | October 12, 2007 11:00 AM

JJ is the best kept secret in the Seattle music scene. He runs the best local music venue, constantly getting amazing local line ups. He's in one of Seattle's best bands. And his wit and commentary on Seattle music is better than every other music blogger in Seattle, myself very much included.

Posted by Abbey | October 12, 2007 4:08 PM

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