Brief conversations with very important people
WHO: Sam & Dave's Sam Moore. The soul man has spent the last week or so putting the finishing touches on his first new solo album in 35 years. The Randy Jackson-produced Overnight Sensational will feature duets with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, and Travis Tritt. He'll preview material from the album tonight, headlining SXSW's free New Orleans tribute at Auditorium Shores.
Austin Chronicle: Safe to say they don't quite make soul men like they used to?
Sam Moore: Soul is happy music. Today's music is flat. There's no beginning, middle, or end. It's straight up and down. I'm not interested in that. What's there to sink your teeth into? Today's entertainers don't know their history. They say they're influenced by Sam Cooke or Jackie Wilson, but when it comes down to the studio they're not particularly entertaining.
Maybe they're not being brought the right material like we were. And some of them just want the instant fame. They don't want to be soul stars. They want to be urban stars. When I came around it was roots music, then race music, then soul, then to R&B, and now it's urban pop. Urban pop? What's that mean? Why do people want to label it? Why can't it just be feel-good music?
AC: Which of the collaborations on the new album comes closest to really nailing that feel-good factor?
SM: People are going to be surprised to hear Sting this way. He sings some outrageous stuff. They're gonna hear this and say, "Shit. Did Sting just do that?" I watched him do some stuff that left my mouth wide open.
AC: Sting's probably just impressed that he's in a studio with Sam Moore.
SM: That's what he said. But he doesn't know I was on the other side of the glass saying, "I can't believe Sting wants to be on my album. Sting!"
AC: You closed the Grammys this year singing with Springsteen. That had to be a feel-good moment.
SM: We go way back. But when we hung with him at the Grammys, we don't want to bother him about being on my record. Then, right after the show, his management told my wife, "You know he's going to do your record?" We were high-fiving anyone we could find. Then he comes in to cut the record and at the end of the song he does this preaching thing like C.L. Franklin. He does a squall at the end that'll blow your mind. Here's the thing: If it sells as well as it sounds, guess what?
SM: We got a hit. That's our slogan: "If it sells as well as it sounds, we got a hit." You just gotta wait and see.