Sam & Dave Biography

Sam & Dave took call and response to the next level

Biography and Guitar Lessons

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Sam & Dave explain Soul Music to a reporter in Finland

Sam & Dave

Sam & Dave were a soul duo that recorded and performed together between 1961 and 1981.

For the majority of that time, Sam Moore and Dave Prater’s relationship would swing between arguing or not speaking to each other at all.

During the 70s, they constantly broke up and would typically arrive separately to shows, have individual dressing rooms and not even look at each other on stage.

Apparently, they both put this down to that the other person didn’t really want to be part of the duo.

More likely, it came from touring an average of 280 shows a year between 1967 and 1969.

The journey to becoming an international success started in 1961 when Sam met Dave on the club circuit in Miami.

After performing together just once, they decided to work together and by doing so developed their signature gospel-influence, call-and-response vocal style.

The following year, they were spotted by Steve Alaimo who signed them to Marlin Records.

After just two singles, they moved on to Roulette Records in New York, where they would continue to release singles.

In 1964 they signed to Atlantic Records who in turn sent them to a small subsidiary Memphis label called Stax in order to get a more authentic southern sound.

At Stax, they met the legendary house band Booker T & The MG’s, a racially mixed band which in the 60s was pretty much unheard of. This was Stax answer to Berry Gordy‘s Motown house band, The Funk Brothers.

Booker T & The MG’s helped with writing songs and featured on recordings by Otis Redding, Wilson Picket, Bill Withers, and Albert King. they also released the instrumental Green Onions.

For Sam & Dave, they put down hits such as Hold On I’m Coming, Soul Man, Soothe Me.

When Sam & Dave thought it was finally all over, in 1979, The Blues Brothers, with Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi hit the cinema.

The main characters were clearly based on Sam & Dave, they re-recorded Soul Man with Booker T and The MG’s who even feature in the film.

This gave the act even more tour dates before they finally parted ways after a New Year’s Eve gig in 1981, walking off stage never to speak again.

Guitar Lessons

Soul Man – Step 1

Today we start working on Soul Man by Sam & Dave. This song is, unlike many songs in this course, built around a driving and repetitive guitar riff.

The man behind the guitar part is Steve Cropper, a legendary soul guitarist who was a member of Booker T. & the M.G.’s.

Go to Soul Man step 1.

Soul Man – Step 2 (Free Preview)

One bar long, that’s all. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Let’s spend half an hour on this one bar of music by digging deep into all its detail.

Go to Soul Man step 2.

Soul Man – Step 3

This lesson is all about the D shape. We’re first going to practice it in three different ways using the cycle of 4th.

This will manifest the D shape all over the fret board and if you haven’t achieved this already, it will teach you all the notes on the B string as well.

Go to Soul Man step 3.

Soul Man – Step 4

In this step, we work on the intro and chorus. They may look very similar at first glance, but there are actually key differences in there.

Saying this, it’s not that much to learn so we also play the verse and chorus on loop.

Go to Soul Man step 4.

Soul Man – Step 5

In this M8 lesson, even though there is a great part to just learn as it is, I would like to encourage you to try different chord shapes for this section.

This is in contrast to the otherwise strict note for note approach this song seemingly craves.

Go to Soul Man step 5.

Soul Man – Step 6

We have arrived at the end of the song and it’s time to change key. It’s similar to the intro, although a semitone up.

If you want to play it note for note, there are some details that are new. We also look at the super simple but clever outro part.

Go to Soul Man step 6.

Soul Man – Step 7

In this lesson, I play the full version of Soul Man in the original key of G.

My aim has been to stay as close to Steve Cropper’s original as possible.

Go to Soul Man step 7.

Soul Man – Step 8

Ok, so now it’s your turn. You already have the TAB, you’ve played along with me, now you’re on your own.

Well, you still have the band to play with!

Go to Soul Man step 8.

Related Pages

Chords and Guitar Lessons

Soul Man is a song first recorded and performed by Sam & Dave. The band behind them was the legendary Booker T and The M.G.’s.

Steve Cropper was a member of this Stax house band. Let’s play it as Steve did!

Go to Soul Man chords and guitar lessons.


Coming to you, on a dusty road
Good loving, I got a truckload
And when you get it, you got something
Don’t worry, ’cause I’m coming

Go to Soul Man lyrics.

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