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The foot soldiers didn’t want to hear no bullshit music. Think about it. That’s where the strength of Sam and

Dave’s music came from. It’s something we need to never forget, need to always remember, need to study up on and learn

as much as we can about how we got into a position to be able to learn as much as we can



Sam and Dave

By Kalamu ya Salaam  


Anyone who is even halfway interested in Soul music needs to either own The Definitive Soul Collection or own the original recordings from which these selections are taken. That’s all I have to say about that.

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On another note, I do have a theory about why Sam Moore and Dave Pratter were both popular in the sixties and why we ought to listen to them today.

Most critics point to Sam and Dave as being heavily church influenced—an influence the artists themselves have acknowledged as far as their style of singing goes. Well here comes some heretical thoughts for you to consider.

I believe these cats were blues men and while they may have gotten their early experience singing in the church, they are reflections of Southern street folk. In the seventies that meant they were also strong supporters of the movement.

When I say strong, I don’t mean they put money in the collection plate and joined in a march or two. If you weren’t around during that period, you probably have not thought about all of the folk who were the foot soldiers fighting the Klan, resisting racist cops, and generally throwing monkey wrenches into the machinery of the system.

Remember those pictures of fire hoses knocking people down, people who got up and kept marching? Dogs turned loose on demonstrators, police attacking with billy clubs and rifle butts, sometimes bayonets and during the heavier conflicts shooting at the blacks and backs of our skin. And the people fighting back: punching out a German Shepherd and going lick for lick with the South’s finest.

Those were intense times. Imagine what it took to stand up to high pressure water hoses. What fortitude you have to muster up to march down main street to meet Bull Connor and his twisted crew.

Now imagine the aftermath. Imagine a broken arm, a busted skull, a couple of days in the slammer, a lost job, a $300 or $400  fine. Imagine all the heavy social dues you had to pay. Eventually most of the leaders got taken care of but what about the little people, the ones who always bear the brunt of the cost of bringing about change?

These were people who had little and gave a lot, gave much, much more than those to whom much had already been given. The intensity, the rawness, the instant energy, the seriousness of Sam and Dave music was a reflection of what peoples was doing on a daily basis.

The foot soldiers didn’t want to hear no bullshit music. Think about it. That’s where the strength of Sam and Dave’s music came from. It’s something we need to never forget, need to always remember, need to study up on and learn as much as we can about how we got into a position to be able to learn as much as we can—whether we’re taking advantage of all our advantages is a whole other question.

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I do need to acknowledge the talented song writing team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter who crafted perfect vehicles for Sam and Dave. I particularly like the pick-ups, those little introductory phrases that made the songs instantly identifiable.

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Lastly, for those who might not fully understand my theory about the movement, I’ll leave you with this little quote to marinate on:

At one time, I was trying to find myself, so I became a follower of Elijah Muhammad. I would listen to Malcolm X in the street, he was so mesmerizing. Malcolm was something of a Nat King Cole. What I mean by this, is that he had green eyes, just like Nat King Cole.

In the last year of his life, Malcolm X had been to Mecca, and he was telling the story that we should stop putting all the blame on the white man.

One time Martin Luther King and Malcolm X had issues with each other. Malcolm X would call Martin Luther King, a sell out, which wasn’t true. But at the time I thought it was true, because I was a follower of Malcolm X. The dream that Martin had, as to what we are doing today, this is not his dream. It’s sad, you know. Sam Moore

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One more thing. Sam and Dave, who met at a nightclub in Miami, started off signed to Roulette Records, a mafia outfit.

You read correctly. I said MAFIA outfit. The entertainment industry was gangsta heaven, I mean real gangstas and not act-like gangstas.

To fully understand our music, you got to understand what our music had to deal with in order to be heard. They literally hung artists out skyscraper windows and asked the magic question: you want to change your contract or you want to live?

I know this is a bit heavy for some people to accept and you probably want facts, figures, references, etcetera, etcetera. If I were of a mind to, I could dig it up and drop it on you but then so what? What would you do if I proved that the Kennedys were the Corleons before they changed their name… Kalamu, what the funk are you talking about?

I’m talking about American capitalism and the trials and tribulations of artists having to deal with straight up criminals!

Besides, there is one big, big fact: the fact that black folk are here tells you something. I mean that literally. We are the fruit of western thievery. Moreover, if you don’t believe me, ask the Native Americans.

(Now, let me see, where was I? Oh, yeah, I was saying one more Mafia thing.)

I did not know at the time, that the Mafia owned Roulette Records. No one told me. The guy who was in charge was Morris Levy, who had strong connections to the Mafia. ” Sam Moore

Sam and Dave had a good five year run and then things went south. Atlantic and Stax had a falling out. Sam and Dave were signed to Atlantic but produced by Stax. No more Stax production work, no more Hayes and Porter songs. No more…

It’s not a pretty story. (There’s a whole lot more but that’s all for another time.)

The music was strong because the times were tough and to cut through the bullshit you needed something sharp and strong that could cut deep and long, hence Soul music, not mention that switchblade, sword, and axe that was sixties jazz.

See, what you’re listening to, regardless of what the lyrics seem to be saying, what you’re listening to is the weapon of music; our spear and shield—other than literally gumming up the works by inserting our bodies into the gears of industry, we didn’t have much else we could fight with.

Sam and Dave this was strong, black, mannish music. Listen. Listen, see if it don’t do something to you, something for you.

Goodnight. Good luck.

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Sam and Dave Mixtape Playlist 
All tracks are from Sam and Dave 

The Definitive Soul Collection

01 “Soul Man”
02 “I Take What I Want”
03 “Knock It Out The Park”
04 “Everybody Got To Believe In Somebody”
05 “Still Is The Night”
06 “Soul Sister, Brown Sugar”
07 “Come On In”
08 “Wrap It Up”
09 “May I Baby”
10 “You Got Me Hummin’ ”
11 “Born Again”
12 “I Thank You”
13 “Soothe Me (Live)”
14 “Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody”
15 “Hold On! I’m A Comin’ ”
16 “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”

posted 18 May 2009

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
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#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


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#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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