Steve Cropper and Felix Cavaliere Release New Album "Midnight Flyer" ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Monday, June 07, 2010

Steve Cropper and Felix Cavaliere Release New Album "Midnight Flyer"

STREAM: Steve Cropper & Felix Cavaliere - "I Can't Stand It"

On June 15th soul men Steve Cropper (Booker T. and the MGs) and Felix Cavaliere (the Rascals) join forces for their second collaborative Stax Recording (via Concord Records) Midnight Flyer. Following up their critically acclaimed 2008 release Nudge It Up a Notch, guitarist Cropper and vocalist Cavaliere’s new album, Midnight Flyer, shows that the songwriting prowess of two titans of blue-eyed soul’s golden age is still going strong. Assisting with the songwriting throughout most of the album’s 12 tracks is drummer/percussionist/vocalist Tom Hambridge, who also lent a hand with the crafting of the previous album.

As part of Booker T. & the MGs — the house band for the Stax label in its original incarnation during the 1960s — Cropper co-wrote and produced classics by artists like Eddie Floyd (“Knock On Wood”), Wilson Pickett (“In the Midnight Hour”) and Otis Redding (“Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”). In subsequent decades, he lent his instrumental and production skills to a range of artists including Jeff Beck, the Blues Brothers, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and many others.

Cavaliere came to prominence in the mid-’60s as vocalist/keyboardist/songwriter for the Rascals (initially known as the Young Rascals). Cavaliere wrote and/or sang several of the band’s biggest hits, including “Good Lovin’” (1966), “Groovin’” (1967), “It’s a Beautiful Morning” (1968) and “People Got To Be Free” (1968). The phrase “blue-eyed soul” was coined during the Rascals’ heyday, due in large part to the group’s highly successful forays into R&B and soul — styles that had been developed and previously dominated by African-American artists.

Midnight Flyer, recorded in Nashville and mixed by producer David Z, is the follow-up to Nudge It Up a Notch, the 2008 debut release by Cropper and Cavaliere that scored critical acclaim from the music and mainstream press. The San Francisco Chronicle called Nudge It Up a Notch “an unexpected delight,” while Blues Wax heralded the project as “one of the great surprises of 2008, and further evidence of Concord’s genuine commitment to the revamped Stax imprint.”

Co-produced by Cropper, Cavaliere and Hambridge, Midnight Flyer captures and builds on the stylistic syngeries between Cropper and Cavaliere. The result is a range of styles and shades, from heartfelt ballads like “When You’re With Me” to the soul-charged “I Can’t Stand It,” a churning vocal duet featuring Cavaliere and his daughter Aria. “Sexy Lady” harkens back to the soul stylings of the ’70s, while the funky instrumental “Do It Like This” digs into a tight groove and makes plenty of room for Cropper’s tasty riff work to close out the set.

“The main thing we both take away from this record is how much fun we had making it,” says Cavaliere. “We may have used a lot of new technology that didn’t even exist when Steve and I were recording back in the day, but the songs themselves are still the most important part of the process, and we just had a blast writing and recording them. I think that spirit comes through on the record.”

Track Listing:

1. You Give Me All I Need (3:35)
2. Midnight Flyer (2:47)
3. Now (3:23)
4. When You're With Me (3:07)
5. I Can't Stand It (2:30)
6. Chance with Me (3:23)
7. Move the House (3:28)
8. Sexy Lady (3:45)
9. Early Morning Riser (3:29)
10. All Night Long (2:56)
11. I Can't Stand the Rain (2:37)
12. Do It Like This (2:59)

Steve Cropper
Felix Cavaliere