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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Sam & Dave: The Original Soul Men (Universal Music/Hip-O DVD)

Sam & Dave: The Original Soul Men (Universal Music/Hip-O DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Documentary: B



Sam & Dave are only know these days for only a few classic songs, “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Comin’” plus you could include “I Thank You” as well, but they actually had one of the great Soul Music hit runs and now you can see and hear their history in action with the new music documentary Sam & Dave: The Original Soul Men.


The opening interview is with Dan Aykroyd and Paul Shaffer, longtime friends and it is Aykroyd and his late comedy partner John Belushi who had reinfused interest in the duos music with the worldwide blockbuster success of John Landis’ hit The Blues Brothers in 1978.  Dave Prater would lose his life only ten years later and much too soon in an accident, but before he was gone, his life, work and partnership with Sam Moore would leave a permanent mark on music worldwide and help make the classic 1960s period of R&B immortal.


Formed in 1962, they cut some records on a local/regional label before signing to the soon-to-be-investigated Roulette Records.  No major hits merged and the records featured Dave more prominently.  This would change when they signed with Stax Records.  There, they would record songs writer by more cutting edge writers like Dave Porter and Isaac Hayes.  The results were massive and when Stax and Atlantic had their falling out, the duo moved on to other labels and the hits stopped.


This DVD has an exceptional collection of their concert and TV appearances including a Soul Man performance on German TV, Hold On, I’m Comin’ from a Hammersmith Odeon show, Soul Sister Brown Sugar/Lucky Ol’ Sun medley from the Ed Sullivan Show, Make It Easy On Yourself from the Hollywood Palace Show hosted by none other than Burt Bacharach and their final reunion performance singing Soul Man on Saturday Night Live.  You get 18 songs with great stills, interviews and rare audio recordings edited together with rich results.  It becomes a journey into some of the most important music America ever produced and restates the duo’s greatness, which alone is more than enough to make this a must-see.  And you get extras too.


The 1.33 x 1 image looks good for a documentary and the source materials are in pretty good shape, usually first generation, though some clips might exist in some better form that mighty be discovered later, but the quality is fine in most cases.  Then you get a choice between very good PCM 16/48 2.0 Stereo and DTS 5.1 sound mixes that deliver the music nicely, though know the original audio from many of the clips (they were not lip-syncing) are retained instead of dubbed by the hit record, though you’ll hear those recording mixed in too.  Extras include a jukebox function to play some of the clips any way you want and two sets of bonus music clips: three of Gospel acts who influenced them and three performances of their music in “related situations” worth your time.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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