A Rockapaedia Obituary
Dave Prater, Jnr
Band: Sam & Dave
Dave Prater, Jnr died aged fifty on 9th April 1988 in a car crash in Sycamore, Georgia, U.S.A. He was buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa, New Jersey. U.S.A.
Dave Prater, Jnr was born in Ocilla, Georgia, where he grew up singing gospel music in the church choir, and was a veteran of the gospel group the Sensational Hummingbirds, in which he sang with his older brother. Dave Prater, Jnr met his future partner, Sam Moore, in the King of Hearts Club in Miami in 1961, signing to Roulette Records shortly thereafter. Sam & Dave released six singles for Roulette, including two songs that Dave Prater, Jnr co-wrote with Moore.
They were signed in late 1964 by Jerry Wexler to Atlantic Records, with an agreement that allowed them to record in Memphis with Stax Records. Their first two singles failed to chart, but the duo's November 1965 single, "You Don't Know Like I Know," started a series of ten straight top twenty Billboard Rythm&Blues hits, including "Hold On, I'm Comin'" and "You Got Me Hummin'" in 1966 , "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby" and "Soul Man" in 1967, and "I Thank You" in 1968. Dave Prater, Jnr sang the tenor lead first verse on their only ballad to become a hit single, "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby", demonstrating an impressive vocal range in the upper register.
All of their biggest hits were written and produced by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, who worked as songwriters for Stax. Sam & Dave's Stax records also benefited greatly from the backing of the Stax house band, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, and the Stax horn section, the Mar-Keys. These highly regarded musicians co-wrote and contributed greatly to the recordings. Sam & Dave's Stax recordings through nineteen sixty-seven were engineered by Stax founder and co-owner Jim Stewart, who created the "Memphis sound" at Stax by recording sessions essentially live in a single take. The combination of all of these respected talents contributed to the unique sound and commercial success of Sam & Dave's Stax recordings.
Stax and Atlantic severed their distribution agreement in 1968, and as a result Sam & Dave became Atlantic recording artists and were no longer able to work with Hayes, Porter and the Stax musicians. The records made by Atlantic did not have the same sound and feel as the Stax recordings, and most only placed in the lower ends of the music charts if at all. The ending of their association with the Stax record label and their frequently volatile relationship contributed to the break-up of the duo in June 1970.
After the break-up with Sam, Dave Prater, Jnr went back to their early Miami label, Alston Records, where he recorded one single, "Keep My Fingers Crossed" backed with "Love Business" , and also performed sporadically over the next year.
Sam & Dave reunited in August 1971 and performed throughout most of the decade through 1981. They enjoyed a brief resurgence in popularity due to the Blues Brothers's 1979 recording of "Soul Man". Sam & Dave also recorded "Come On, Come Over", which appeared on the debut LP of jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius. Dave also appeared in the Paul Simon movie One Trick Pony as part of Sam & Dave. Their last performance together was on 31st December 1981, at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
In 1982, Dave Prater, Jnr started touring with Sam Daniels. This duo was also billed as Sam & Dave. They performed together until Dave Prater, Jnr's death in 1988. Sam Moore attempted to legally block Dave Prater, Jnr from using the duo's name without his participation and permission, but was generally unsuccessful in stopping the act from performing. The Daniels–Dave Prater, Jnr incarnation of Sam & Dave played as many as 100 shows per year, including gigs in Europe, Japan and Canada.
In 1985, Dave Prater, Jnr and Daniels released a medley of Sam & Dave hits newly recorded in the Netherlands, which peaked at number ninety-two on the Rythm&Blues chart and was credited to "Sam & Dave". Moore made the label recall the single for using the "Sam & Dave" name without permission, and the record was relabelled and reissued under the name of "The New Sam & Dave Revue".
Dave Prater, Jnr's last performance with Sam Daniels was on 3rd April 1988, at a Stax Reunion show at the Atlanta Civic Center, which also featured Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd, and Rufus and Carla Thomas. Six days later he died in a car crash while driving to his mother's house.