Sam & Dave

The Best of Sam & Dave [Atlantic]

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During the early '80s, Atlantic released newer compilations from some of the most popular R&B artists from the '60s, including Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. The Best of Sam & Dave perhaps works even better. Although the duo's 1969 greatest hits remains definitive from a pop culture and song choice perspective, this boasts superior sound and zero filler. Like all of their compilations of merit, The Best of Sam & Dave proves the precision of the backing from Booker T. and the MG's and the duo's most illustrious songwriting team, Isaac Hayes and David Porter. The writing team's masterwork, the amazing and kinetic "Soul Man" was in line with the burgeoning black pride of the time. While other well-known tracks like "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" and "Hold on, I'm Comin'" are here, The Best of Sam & Dave also culls other songs that are just as potent. The humorous "Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody" and the hard-driving yet quirky "Wrap It Up" all display the singular one-two punch of Moore's narrow and irascible tone pitted against Prater's woebegone baritone. Arguably the best track, the phenomenal "I Thank You" closes the compilation on a high note. Although the duo did switch officially to Atlantic by the early '70s, this compilation stops at the prime Stax material. The Best of Sam & Dave had a brief shelf life and was supplanted by more extensive overviews. As a compilation spotlighting the hits, this does the job.

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