Daryl Hall - vocals, keyboards
John Oates - vocals, guitars
John Siegler - bass
Chuck Burgi - drums
Jeff Southworth - lead guitar
Charlie DeChant - saxophone
It seems as though Daryl Hall and John Oates have spent their entire 30-plus year career trying to convince the public that white men can, indeed, sing soul music. One of the pioneers of the blue-eyed soul movement, this recording, made in August 1980 for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, Hall & Oates testifies to their cause, notably in a blistering nearly 12-minute version of "Sweet Soul Music," originally cut by Arthur Conley in the 1960s. There is no doubt Hall, the main singer in the duo, can sing soul music and execute it better than any other white vocalist out there (at least, certainly, the male ones).
The duo was halfway through its transition from edgy singers and writers trying to equally cover pop, R&B, easy listening, and rock, to bona fide pop music superstars, which they clearly became during this period. They had just released their hit record, Voices, and their commercial success was still gaining momentum, gearing up for the following year's smash, Private Eyes.
There are bevy of big hits in this show, since they had already charted with "Rich Girl," "She's Gone," "Sara Smile," and "Wait For Me." They were also introducing "You Make My Dreams Come True," and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," (a heartfelt re-make of the 1965 Righteous Brothers/Phil Spector classic), both of which became enormous hits. The rest of the show is filled with album tracks and singles that didn't quite make it, such as "United States" and "Sacred Songs." But the highlight is the aforementioned "Sweet Soul Music," which is featured in the middle of the show and designed to give the band embers each a solo spotlight.
After a series of moderately successful albums for Atlantic Records from 1971 through 1974, and one hit single, "She's Gone," Daryl Hall and John Oates decided it was time for a complete artistic make-over. They returned with a new look and sound in 1975 on RCA Records. This recording was made two years and several hit songs later in 1977. By then, the duo was at the top of the pop charts, alongside acts like Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles, with songs like "Sara Smile" and "Rich Girl." Nearly three decades later, this concert proves just how powerful R&B/pop vocalist Daryl Hall was during this period. Although Oates's contribution is not as obvious, he was obviously crucial to the duo's success.