More than 30 years after the heyday of soul duo Sam & Dave, Sam Moore has finally launched a solo career, and he’s packing potent material on “Plenty Good Lovin’: The Lost Solo Album.” Released Jan. 28 in England on the Swing Cafe label, it features Moore’s joyous title track, his bluesy, optimistic “Hi Di Hi,” a cool take on Allen Toussaint’s “Get Out My Life Woman,” and “Tennessee Waltz,” a signature Patti Page tune Moore marbled with pure funk.
The album, originally intended for release in 1970 by Atlantic, is sure to please fans of prime Atlantic and Stax-Volt recordings, as all but two of its 10 cuts were produced at Atlantic Studios in New York by King Curtis. The CD features Atlantic’s top session players such as guitarist Cornell Dupree and drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, as well as Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway on keyboards. Moore debuted his “new” material at a recent concert in Cleveland, along with such Sam & Dave trademarks as “Hold On! I’m a Comin’,” “Soul Man,” and “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby.”
According to the album’s liner notes, Moore was disillusioned in his work with partner Dave Prater and wanted to try it solo. Prater, who worked with various Sams after the duo split in 1970, died in a car accident in 1988. At the Cleveland show, Moore said he didn’t know why Atlantic never released the album, although he suggested King Curtis’s murder in August 1971 — and Moore’s own heroin habit — may have chilled the project.
Four cuts from the album were released as Atlantic singles in 1971: “Stop”/ “Keep on Sockin’ It to Me” and “Shop Around”/ “If I Should Lose Your Love” (“Stop” was previously cut by underrated soulman Howard Tate; “Shop Around” is an old Smokey Robinson/Miracles tune). The master tapes from the sessions were discovered by Rhino Records in the course of research for “Sweat’n’Soul,” a two-CD anthology Rhino released in 1993.
According to Moore’s wife and manager Joyce, “Rhino gave us the album because they did not feel their method of distribution could do it justice.” The title track will be released to U.K. radio outlets on April 8, in conjunction with Moore’s performance on the TV show “Top of the Pops.” North American distribution details are still being finalized.