Overnight Sensational

Sam Moore

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Overnight Sensational Review

by Mark Deming

Some sage told us years ago that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Overnight Sensational is an album with enough good intentions to choke a horse. Sam Moore was one of the great men of 1960s soul as half of Sam & Dave, but like his former partner Dave Prater (who passed away in 1988) once the duo broke up, Moore had a hard time getting a solo career off the ground, and his star turned dim in the '70s. There's no arguing that Sam Moore deserves a second shot at the spotlight, and his voice is still in fine shape, but his wife and manager, Joyce Moore, decided that the best way to relaunch Sam's career was to create an "event" album around him, with a name producer and a gaggle of guest stars. On Overnight Sensational, the name producer turns out to be Randy Jackson, a session musician best known as one of the judges on American Idol, and Jackson has saddled Moore with some dubious choices in terms of material and duet partners (many of whom, judging from the credits, weren't even in the same room with Moore when they recorded their parts). If you ever dreamed of hearing Sam Moore sing songs made famous by Milli Vanilli, Garth Brooks, Seals & Crofts, and Conway Twitty, well, this is your lucky day, but while Moore gives each song his level best, the cheese factor on this album is woefully high. It's true that Moore has a long, rich tradition of singing with a partner, but Wynonna Judd, Paul Rodgers, Fantasia, and Zucchero blend with Moore about as well as oil mixes with water, with Mariah Carey's wordless melismatic wanderings on "It's Only Make Believe" slinking under the line as the album's low point. Fortunately, however, Moore, who must have some spiritual tie to New Jersey, does have a track apiece with Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, the artists who come off the best by a considerable margin here and consequently save this album's day.

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