One half of the greatest soul music singing duo of all time, the Dave of Sam & Dave was the deeper-voiced of the two. Dave Prater came from Georgia and sang gospel, both as a child in church and professionally with the Sensational Hummingbirds.
He hooked up with Sam Moore in '61 and they signed to Roulette, releasing a clutch of tunes often with Dave singing the lead and sometimes composing. In '64 they signed with Atlantic and made their records in Memphis at the famous Stax studio and the house band Booker T & the MG's. For a four-year stretch from '65-68 they made some of the best soul classics ever cut. "Hold On, I'm Comin", "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby", "Soul Man", "I Thank You", "Wrap It Up"...just classic stuff. Check Dave out leading on "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby..."! A lot of these tunes were written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, but the duo contributed greatly to shaping the style of the compositions.
They maintained a reputation as one of the hottest stage acts of the period. In 1968 the increasingly corporate Atlantic ripped off Stax and this unfortunate development robbed Sam & Dave of the association they had with the studio in Memphis and thus the magic was lost. Combine that with some tensions between the two and they had a brief break-up in '70.
Prater recorded for Alston and did some touring before they worked together again off-and-on until 1981. They appeared on Jaco Pastorius' first album in '76 and the hit movie and group The Blues Brothers were explicitly based on Sam & Dave. Due to drug problems and personality conflicts Prater got a new Sam in the '80s, much to the chagrin of Sam Moore and that "new" duo toured the oldies circuit until Prater's death in a car accident. The classic Stax recordings of Sam & Dave are hard to beat for infectious and energetic soul at its best.