Just about two years ago, I reviewed Nudge It Up A Notch by Steve Cropper and Felix Cavaliere. It was a collaborative effort by two Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame members and it produced one of the better – if underrated – albums of the year.

I thought their 2008 album was a one-time union so I was pleasantly surprised when their second album, Midnight Flyer, arrived in my mailbox.

Steve Cropper is one of the legendary musicians of American music. He was the guitarist for Booker T & The MG’s, who were inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1992. He was part of the Stax Label house band for years and backed many of the leading rhythm & blues artists of the day. His unique and influential style can be heard on songs by Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Johnny Taylor, and dozens more. He also co-wrote such songs as “In The Midnight Hour” and “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay.” He received a new fan base as the lead guitarist for the Blues Brothers Band, which he continues to front today.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Felix Cavaliere helped define the term blue-eyed soul as a member of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame group, The Young Rascals. Hits such as “A Beautiful Morning,” “How Can I Be Sure,” “Groovin’,” “People Got To Be Free,” and “Good Lovin’” were some of the best single releases of the mid to late ‘60s.

Their talents fit well together. Cropper’s guitar licks and Cavaliere’s vocals and keyboards give the impression that they have been playing together for decades. The other musician of note is drummer Tom Hambridge, who lays down a solid foundation on which they build their sound.

The music here has a nice ebb and flow. There are ballads such as “When You’re With Me” and uptempo numbers like “I Can Stand It” where Cavaliere duets with his daughter Aria. “Sexy Lady” is a look back to the early ‘70s. “Do It Like This” is an instrumental that allows Cropper to demonstrate just how good and funky a guitarist he can be.

Cropper and Cavaliere prove that they fit together well and that there is a lot of life left in their legendary careers. Midnight Flyer is one of the better releases of the first six months of 2010. Hopefully sometime in 2012, another album by these two veterans will magically arrive on my doorstep.

Rating: B+

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