Sam & Dave

Dave Prater, one half of Sam & Dave, was killed in a car accident on this day in 1988. A hugely successful double-act known for their highly-charged concert appearances, they were the most successful soul duo and had 10 consecutive Top 20 singles in the R&B chart.

David’s early band, Jokers Wild, performed several of their songs.

How’s this for a phenomenal live performance? If it doesn’t get your toes tapping and hands clapping (hopefully with more rhythm and gusto than the bloke caught on camera at 2:37), I don’t know what will.

Have a listen to ‘Soul Man’ while you think of your favourite soul men and songs.

My vote goes to the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

I’ll have to list ten tracks, so maybe you could do the same?

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

45 thoughts on “Sam & Dave”

  1. Thanks for the video, FEd.

    I don’t know very much about soul music and I didn’t know Sam & Dave. I’m sorry for my ignorance, but I’m happy I could discover something new. 🙂

    When I think about soul, the first song which come in my mind is Otis Redding’s “Respect”, sung by Aretha Franklin. I know you asked about soul men, but I love that woman’s voice!

    I also like “Think” and “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”. I listened to them a lot of times, but I still love them.

  2. Good spot at 2:37 FEd, that guy made me laugh! 🙂

    Some of my favourite “soul men” – Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye.

    So many great songs to choose from though. I’d have to think to get 10, but off the top of my head:

    (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding
    What’s Goin’ On – Marvin Gaye
    Stand By Me – Ben E King
    Green Onions – Booker T. & the MGs – I love this song! For any other Booker T. fans, he’s releasing a new album in a few weeks, with Neil Young on lead guitar! 😀
    I Got You (I Feel Good) – James Brown
    Knock On Wood – Eddie Floyd
    Soul Man – Sam & Dave
    Everybody Needs Somebody To Love – Solomon Burke
    I Say A Little Prayer – Aretha Franklin (OK, so not technically a soul MAN, but…)

    There are so many great soul artists and songs, but those were the ones that instantly came to mind!

    How about your list of 10, FEd?

    1. You’ve beaten me to it with your list, Davie; I’d also have listed at least eight of your favourites straight off the top of my head. I’ll have to put my thinking cap, or better still some soul CDs, on. Thanks for giving me an excuse to play them.

      It does seem wrong to leave out Aretha Franklin, doesn’t it? What an amazing voice. We must set aside a day to talk about female singers soon.

    2. Great minds…

      BUT! I just realised that I forgot perhaps my favourite song! When I started my list, it was the first one that popped into my head, but somehow I forgot to write it down! :v

      Tears Of A Clown – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

      No idea how I managed to forget it! Fantastic song! 😀

  3. Awesome performance! Love Soul Man.

    My favourite soul song has to be Stand By Me. I loved the movie also.

  4. This is the first time I have tried this, hope it works.

    When I hear Sam and Dave I am always reminded of two wonderful young singers, Joe and Eddie. They were astounding newcomers in the 60s. They did blues and gospel. Just getting a great start on their careers when Joe was killed in a car accident.

    I hope this link works to listen to. If not, you owe it to yourself to give them a listen. Remarkable talents.


  5. Some songs come to mind are;

    Midnight Hour – Wilson Pickett
    Reach Out (I’ll Be There) – Four Tops
    Tracks of My Tears – Smokey Robinson
    Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe – Barry White
    Rainy Night In Georgia – Brook Benton

    Can’t pick just one fav out of these guys:

    Brook Benton
    Al Hibbler
    Lou Rawls
    Sam Cooke
    Al Green
    Ray Charles
    Marvin Gaye
    Teddy Pendergrass
    Luther Vandross

    And I know there are other wonderful voices I haven’t mentioned.

    And one for the ladies’ list… Gladys Knight.


  6. Hey great video… my mom caught some of it and remembered when she saw Sam and Dave in concert. A number of times. She said that they would perform at the Art Laboe shows out here in Los Angeles.

    Brought back memories for her and me, because she always played the records for us when we were small.

    My fave has to be Otis Redding and Sam Cooke.


  7. Fun one ~

    Otis Redding – Sitting on the Dock…
    Sam & Dave – Hold On, I’m Comin’
    Marvin Gaye – Mercy Mercy Me
    Gladys Knight & The Pips – I Got to Use My Imagination
    Jr. Walker & The Allstars – Shotgun
    Aretha -Chain of Fools
    Sam Cooke – Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher
    Joe Cocker – St. James Infirmary
    Four Tops (w/The Funk Brothers) – Bernadette
    Joan Osborne – Eliminate the Night (I know, but she’s got a lot of soul!)

    1. If one of these doesn’t fly for any reason, I would like to add Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. One of my favorites and I almost forgot it!!

    2. I think you mean Jackie Wilson, not Sam Cooke? If so, that one’s also on my list. What a wonderful song.

  8. Very good choices.

    James Brown: It’s a Man’s World is a favourite for me.

    Sam Cooke: Twistin’ the Night Away and Chain Gang.

    Aretha Franklin: Respect

    1. When Aretha sings the middle eight: ‘sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me…’ I just cannot do it. It is so fast. I have tried and tried.

      She is such a great singer.

  9. Well, who could argue with James Brown as King of Soul? But I must mention Gladys Knight and the Pips – pure magic. I saw her in all places the Sunderland Empire, she was just superb. Oh, and there was just the one Pip with her.


  10. I feel very ignorant about soul music, I don’t have very often the opportunity to listen to it.

    I watched the ‘Hold On, I’m Coming’ video and, sorry, but I have to admit that it made me laugh a lot! No wonder they were nicknamed ‘Double Dynamite’ or ”The Sultans Of Sweat’ (saw that on the web). :))

    Classic 21 radio station made us discover Seal’s new album ‘Soul’, I know it’s only a CD of covers, but I liked many of the songs.

    Maybe this topic will make me discover some ‘pearls’ of the soul music. I need advice.


    1. Well, there are lots of soul classics covered on that one. I’d be interested to hear Seal sing them, especially ‘Stand By Me’, as he has a very good voice.

    2. You can listen here to Seal’s version of ‘Stand By Me’ that he sang in Paris on 21 March 2009 for Sidaction (to help fight AIDS).

    3. Oh, moi aussi!

      So much soul and heart… it could almost make us believe that there is still hope the world could be one day reunited and in peace…

  11. Trying to think of some not mentioned yet.

    Ray Charles ~ “Hit the Road Jack”
    Curtis Mayfield ~ “Super Fly”

    Not sure where to put Ray though. Is he soul, R&B, or Blues? A little of all are in his music.

  12. James Brown, Otis Redding, The Four Tops, The Temptations, oh yes. What good music. All the music of my early years and my first records. Playing them one at a time, over and over, due to having only a single play record player. We use to wear out the needle and couldn’t afford new ones. We would tape a rock on the arm the needle fit in to hold it down and play the records anyway.

    Isn’t it wild how just hearing a certain song from the past years can bring back a memory or two, or three!

    Thanks Fed for the blast from the past.

    Barbara P

  13. Mixing the recent post about covers with this one, what do you think about Otis Redding’s version of Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”?

    Maybe it’s not so imaginative, but I like it. 🙂

    1. Enigmatic expression: hypnotized by the music, or maybe just drunk? :))

      Thanks for the nice video.

      I hope you enjoyed your Easter holidays.

    2. I did, thank you very much.

      My Easter was just a lazy Sunday out with all my family. Nothing special, but very relaxing.

      Here it seems the spring has finally arrived. 🙂

  14. It must have been really weird for David to go from playing soul covers to playing psychedelia. From all accounts, Jokers Wild sounded absolutely nothing like Pink Floyd.

    The history of soul music includes some of music’s most memorable players: Ray Charles, James Brown, Ben E King, Diana Ross, Isaac Hayes, Ike & Tina Turner, just to name a few. For me, it’s not individual performances that stand out, it is the performers – each with their own brand of showmanship and an impressive body of work.

  15. Just to thank Tim for enlightening me on the correct name of the painting I mentioned the other day and the artist… Thank You.


  16. I don’t know if I can name ten tracks, but I do like Lightnin’ Hopkins, Otis Redding and, if groups count, the Drifters.

    B.B King, I don’t know if he’s in this category or not, but he is definitely on my mp3 player constantly.

    1. No Gazza at Euro ’96? Maybe I missed it.

      Lose the sound and play The Temptations’ ‘Get Ready’ for a much better soundtrack.

  17. You’re right FEd, Jackie Wilson. Sorry about that. We could add Lonely Teardrops to the list, too.

    And the longer I think about it, the less likely Joe Cocker should be included on this list, so scratch him and add Al Green. (I guess Joe would be more the blues, though he was always a little too funky to be a bluesman to me.)

  18. All of the above. 🙂

    What I like about Martha Reeves and the Vanedellas song ‘Dancing in the Streets’ is that the rhythm section of this song reminds me of the funky bit in ‘Echoes’. Perhaps the said rhythm section is where the inspiration came from during the ‘Echoes’ funky jam.

    I happened upon this realisation when I learned to play ‘Dancing in the Streets’ on the guitar in readiness for the National Music day event at Clapham Common which I attended back in the early 90s.

    I absolutely love soul music too. Ironic that; as when I was a teenager attending high school in Germany, there used to be a choice of a ‘rock school bus’ or a ‘soul school bus’ – the former I used to go on. Don’t you just love the naivety of youth?

  19. Love the above lists, all spectacular.

    Some other fav soul men…

    Leon Russell ~ “Lady Blue”
    Joe Cocker ~ anything the man sings…
    Billy Paul ~ “Mrs. Jones”

  20. Hi Fed,

    I was just catching up on the blogs and reading this blog about Sam and Dave and it reminded me about the history that they had as an act.

    An interesting fact about Sam and Dave was that for at least 13 of their 21 years performing together, they never spoke to one another on or offstage. They would arrive separately, perform on stage without speaking or looking at one another, and then walk off and leave – each refusing to speak to one another.

    Apparently they had many disagreements due to various reasons: drugs, having to sing the same songs, inability to go solo etc., but one of the main reasons was that Sam, a loving family man, could never forgive Dave, after Dave shot his own wife in the head. Although she did survive and even forgave him, Sam was less than impressed and didn’t speak to Dave after that.

    Just thought I’d throw that one out there. 8|

    1. Vicky, I have heard Sam Moore described as many things, but “a loving family man” is certainly a FIRST!

      I take it you know very little about Sam and/or Dave and you couldn’t have possibly read Sam’s little book that came out in ’98 (“Sam And Dave: An Oral History”). Because if you had, you would know that Sam was anything but “a family man” during their heyday (unless you consider a heroin addicted pimp with so many girlfriends he doesn’t know how many children he has, “a loving family man”).

      And how do we know that it’s true Sam & Dave never spoke to each other for 13 years? Because Sam said so? Sam was/is a notorious liar. MAYBE Sam & Dave actually didn’t speak to each other off-stage, but they most certainly did look at each other while performing. Sam & Dave broke up because Sam wanted to go solo (and because Sam was tired of splitting the money 50/50 as he thought he was the “star” and deserved a bigger cut of the proceeds). All this crap about Dave’s shooting incident breaking up the duo is just that… CRAP!

      I’m sick and tired of all these lies continually being perpetrated and retold… Enough is enough already!

      Later. 😡

    2. My apologies for possibly angering Duchess with my editing, but I have to capitalise Sam’s name – even if you would prefer consigning it to lower case – because I’m simply too fussy not to. Point taken, though.

      Thanks for providing some additional background information for us to chew on.

  21. Not angered at all, FEd. I wish I could edit other’s comments on my own blog (maybe I should switch from Blogger to WordPress). Besides, you got my point (and hopefully others did too) and that’s all that really matters to me.


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