Randy Jackson has brought in some of his dawgs for his new pet project.
The “American Idol” judge has enlisted Mariah Carey, Fantasia and Jon Bon Jovi, among many others, to collaborate on an album he hopes will revive the career of soul legend Sam Moore — of Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man” fame — the way pairings with contemporary stars like Rob Thomas gave Carlos Santana new life on his 1999 LP, Supernatural.
Jackson is producing the album, which will also feature such heavyweights as Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Eric Clapton. Titled Overnight Sensational, Moore’s first contemporary solo album is due August 29 on Rhino Records.
“[He’s] the true original,” Jackson said in a press release. “The phone has been ringing off the hook from artists wanting to get involved with this project; everyone wants to sing with Sam.”
Moore and fellow southern gospel vocalist Dave Prater signed to Atlantic Records in 1965 as duo Sam & Dave and quickly moved over to the legendary Memphis-based label Stax, which was affiliated with Atlantic. With guidance from songwriting/producing partners Isaac Hayes and Dave Porter, the pair released hits including “Hold On! I’m Coming” and “Soul Man,” which was popularized in the late 1970s by the Dan Aykroyd/ John Belushi “Saturday Night Live” sketch and film “The Blues Brothers.” Moore and Prater had already split in 1970, however, due to irreconcilable tensions, and Prater died in a 1988 car accident.
Sam & Dave were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, the same year Moore appeared on Springsteen’s Human Touch LP.
For Overnight Sensational, Mariah sings with country star Vince Gill on a song called “It’s Only Make Believe,” while Fantasia is featured on “Blame It On the Rain.” Van Hunt and Nikka Costa, who are both managed by Jackson, perform with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons on “If I Had No Loot” and Clapton is joined by pedal-steel guitarist Robert Randolph on “You Are So Beautiful.” “Beautiful,” as well as “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” also feature the final recordings from late keyboardist Billy Preston (see “Billy Preston, Legendary Soul Keyboardist And ’The Fifth Beatle,’ Dies At 59″ ).
Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers, who most recently handled vocal duties for Queen, shares the mic on the Garth Brooks-penned “We Shall Be Free,” and Sheila E. and Steve Winwood also appear on the album.