Legendary Soul Man™ Sam Moore performed at the White House to celebrate the timeless classics of “Memphis Soul,” as part of the Emmy Award-Nominated PBS Music Series IN PERFORMANCE AT THE WHITE HOUSE on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. President BarackObama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the all-star concert, which included performances by Sam Moore, William Bell, Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Charlie Musselwhite. Alabama Shakes,Mavis Staples and Justin Timberlake, along with Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader. In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul premieres Tuesday, April 16 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings).
President Barack Obama began the evening by speaking about the historical significance of Memphis Soul music, noting that it was created out of a need to bridge the divide between the segregated Memphis community in the sixties and seventies.
“And that was the spirit of their music -- the sound of Soulsville, U.S.A., a music that, at its core, is about the pain of being alone, the power of human connection, and the importance of treating each other right,” said President Barack Obama. “After all, this is the music that asked us to try a little tenderness. It’s the music that put Mr. Big Stuff in his place. And it’s the music that challenged us to accept new ways of thinking with four timeless words: ‘Can you dig it?’”
The President noted that with its remarkable history, it is no surprise that Memphis Soul swept the nation in the sixties and seventies, and has stood the test of time.
“So to all of you, even more than for the music you’ve created, I want to say a special thank you for the difference that you’ve made in our lives,” said President Barack Obama. “More than half a century after Soulsville, U.S.A. first opened its doors, you still bring us together. You still remind us how much we have in common. You still help us imagine a better place. And you promise, through your beautiful music, that you can take us there.”
President Barack Obama introduced Sam Moore, calling him “a Memphis legend who’s been around just about forever,” and telling the audience that “in the heyday of soul music, no band had more hits than the group known simply as ‘Sam and Dave.’”
After the President’s introduction, Moore opened the concert along with Joshua Ledet, with the performance of his timeless classic, “Soul Man.” Moore returned to the stage later in the evening to perform “Something Is Wrong With My Baby.
Moore appreciates the President’s invitation, as the White House salutes “Memphis Soul” and the artists who created this American cultural legacy. The concert honored memorable soul sounds from the mid- to late-1960s that emerged from Memphis, Tennessee, along with legendary labels such as Stax-Volt Records and H Records, which featured artists such as Al Green, Otis Redding, Mavis Staples, Carla Thomas and more. The program will pay homage to a segregated city in the 1960s, where many whites and blacks nonetheless came together to make soulful musical magic that mixed gospel with potent rhythmic grooves, which came to be known as Sweet Soul/Memphis Soul music.
At 77 years old, and having lost so many friends and peers including his former partner Dave Prater Jr., Duck Dunn, Isaac Hayes,Luther Ingram, Andrew Love, Otis Redding, Pops and Cleo Staples, Johnny Taylor and Rufus Thomas, all of whom contributed to the Memphis Soul sound, Sam Moore acknowledges that this concert might not be possible at another moment in time. Moore hopes his performance will honor his fellow pioneers from Stax and Hi Records, including Jay Blackfoot, Rev. Al Green, Anne Peebles, The Soul Children and Carla and Marvell Thomas.
This performance marked Sam Moore’s second invitation to appear at the White House for a sitting president. Furthermore, with this concert, Moore has now performed for all five of the living Presidents of the United States – Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – an honor he is extremely proud of.