Steve Cropper / Felix Cavaliere - Midnight Flyer

Steve Cropper / Felix Cavaliere - Midnight Flyer
Release Date:
June 15, 2010
Recording Location:
Ben Folds Studio, Nashville, TN; Insomnia Studios, Nashville, TN; The Insanery, Nashville, TN
Styles:
Retro-Soul, Soul
Album:
Midnight Flyer
Genre:
Duration:
37:58

A second outing from 1960s icons Steve Cropper of the MG's and Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals, following 2008’s fine, Stax-grooving Nudge It Up a Notch, Midnight Flyer builds on the same retro-soul template. Again the playing is impeccable, with Cropper delivering the precise, tonally perfect guitar leads he’s done his whole impressive career, while Cavaliere still has an expressively soulful voice and a wonderfully natural and joyous sense of phrasing, and track after track here starts like it’s going to burn the house down. That the house escapes with nothing more than mild smoke damage is the real surprise. The problem is the songwriting. Most of these tracks were written by either Cropper or Cavaliere, or both together (there are a couple of covers, most notably one of Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand the Rain”), and while everything sounds great, the songs shade into the generic. It’s telling that the most memorable and grooving track is the last one, “Do It Like This,” which is really an MG's-like instrumental with occasional vocal interjections. Even the version here of “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” while certainly competent and well-sung and -played, somehow doesn’t resonate like it should, lacking most of the desperate, haunting urgency of Peebles’ original. It’s frustrating, really, because both of these artists can still deliver the goods, and the assembled band has a wonderful, deep south Stax groove going for it. The songs just aren’t here. It’s as simple as that.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
You Give Me All I Need / Felix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper / Tom HambridgeFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper3:35
Midnight Flyer / Felix Cavaliere / Tom HambridgeFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper2:47
Now / Felix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper / Tom HambridgeFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper3:23
When You're with Me / Felix Cavaliere / Henry Gross / Tom HambridgeFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper3:07
I Can't Stand It / Smokey McAllisterFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper2:30
Chance with Me / Felix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper / Tom HambridgeFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper3:22
Move the House / Felix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper / Tom HambridgeFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper3:27
Sexy Lady / Felix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper / Tom HambridgeFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper3:46
Early Morning Riser / Felix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper / Tom HambridgeFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper3:29
All Night Long / Felix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper / Tom HambridgeFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper2:57
I Can't Stand the Rain / Don Bryant / Bernard Miller / Ann PeeblesFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper2:36
Do It Like This / Felix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper / Jon TivenFelix Cavaliere / Steve Cropper2:59