Steve Cropper and Felix Cavaliere – Midnight Flyer

January 01, 1970

(Stax)

 

www.concordmusicgroup.com

 

Take one of America’s preeminent soul guitarists (Steve
Cropper), add in the storied singer for the Rascals (Felix Cavaliere), sign on
a drummer (Tom Hambridge) who has worked for B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Lynyrd Skynyrd
(among others) and Allison Moorer’s bass player (Allison Pressman), and how
could you miss? Well, it’s a good question because Midnight Flyer misses pretty badly, serving up a tepid stew of
lifeless soul, R&B and funk of the sort that gives easy listening a bad
name. 

 

Midnight Flyer is
a nearly unbroken series of clichés and easy solutions, working the trite in
both its musical arrangements and, especially, its lyrics. “Sexy Lady” is a
half-cocked mishmash of every “c’mere baby” vamp since the 1960s, its tired
come on hardly buoyed at all by Cropper’s smouldery guitar work, or an
uncredited saxophone solo. “Early Morning Riser” is even worse, a cringe-inducing
geriatric love song about a guy who gets up early to make coffee and listen to
the weather and zzzzzzzzzzzzz…oh, sorry, what was I saying?  

 

The disc catches fire, a little, in the two covers, the
first, Smokey McAllister’s “I Can’t Stand It” a duet between Cavaliere and his
spit-fiery daughter Aria, and the second a slinky, organ squealing strut
through Ann Peebles’ great “I Can’t Stand the Rain.” These, along with a couple
of originals, the O’Jays-esque title track, the all-instrumental “Do It Like
This”, the stomping “Move The House”, give an inkling of where the disc could have
gone, if it hadn’t gotten mired in a morass of half-baked moon-june rhymes, and
lukewarm asexual funkiness. Here’s a record that stumbles like a zombie over
territories once smouldery and wonderful, looking for another song to eat alive
and spit out dead. 

 

Standout Tracks: “Midnight Flyer” “I Can’t Stand the Rain” JENNIFER KELLY

 

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