Songwriter Daniel Moore’s compositions have been recorded by multitudes of top rock, pop, country, folk, R&B, jazz and blues artists including Joe Cocker, Brooks & Dunn, Three Dog Night, The Everly Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Waylon Jennings, B.W. Stevenson, The Band, Maria Muldaur, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelma Houston, Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes, Bobby Blue Bland, The Association, Marcia Ball, and many others.
Now, on Moore’s new album THE GIVEAWAY, the public gets to hear his versions of some of the hundreds of songs he has written.
One of the music industry’s top songwriters for the past three-and-a-half-decades, Moore seldom cut skeletal, rough “demos” (demonstration records) of the songs he wrote. Instead, he rented top studios, hired the best session musicians available and produced polished, full-band versions of his tunes.
For THE GIVEAWAY, he has dug in the vault to compile 16 of his favorites from these 1972-2006 recordings that span the pop, roots rock, folk, Americana and blues genres.
“I was never very interested in sitting down at the piano or with an acoustic guitar and recording a bare-bones arrangement of a song I wrote just so some act with a recording contract could take a listen to it and hear the words and basic melody,” explains Moore.
“I always took a new song into the studio with the idea of making a record, producing a finished master that I would be proud for anyone to hear. I put a lot of thought into it ahead of time, tried to get musicians who would be best suited for the material, and spent money at quality studios.”
Some of the songs will be very familiar to listeners “Shambala” went to the top of the pop charts by Three Dog Night (it was a million-selling Gold Single with two-million performances on radio), and “My Maria” was a Top 10 pop hit in the Seventies for B.W. Stevenson (nearly a million singles sold and one-and-a-half-million radio spins) and a #1 country hit in the Nineties for Brooks & Dunn (five-million more spins and six-million copies sold combining albums and singles).
Bonnie Raitt fans will recognize the song “Sweet Forgiveness” which was the title tune from her first Gold Album. Among the nine Moore songs Joe Cocker has recorded are two heard here -- “Somebody I Trusted (Put Out The Light)” and “If I Love You.” Thelma Houston covered “Lost and Found.” Jeff Pryor co-wrote and released “Forever True.”
Daniel takes delight in introducing some of his other compositions for the first time including the CD’s initial single “On Solid Ground” (“the chorus is like a prayer”). “I got inspired to write and record it in December 2006 after being in the studio with Joe Cocker while he was recording my song ‘Pass It On (Just Pass It On)’.”
Other material includes an R&B-styled “groove love song that tips its hat to the Staples Singers and Otis Redding” (“Lean Back Hold Steady”), a tune inspired by The Allman Brothers’ brand of Southern Rock (“Who’s Gonna Play The Harp”), and a society-in-chaos-so-get-back-to-nature recording from the mid-Seventies (“Bandito From Toledo”).
The title tune, “The Giveaway” derives from the concept behind the Potlatch festival started by the Northwest Native Americans hundreds of years ago. “The Indians would steal from neighboring tribes all year long, but they got together one time a year at this festival, put aside their fighting, and tried to give away to their enemy more than they had stolen from him. I love that concept.”
Often Moore’s lyrics subtly reflect his spiritual and religious upbringing while growing up in the tiny town of Athena in Northeast Oregon.
His father, grandfather, uncle and three oldest brothers were preachers. While attending the University of Oregon, Daniel also studied for three years at Northwest Christian College Seminary and considered entering the clergy. Daniel’s earliest musical influence was church music (his mother played piano at services). On THE GIVEAWAY is the tune “Roll The Holy Bones” (“the early prophets in the Bible would toss gems or stones or special bones and read them to tell the future”).
Daniel took up saxophone in the third grade and played in school bands through high school while also having his own jazz combo. But after hearing folk musicians such as the Kingston Trio and Pete Seeger, Moore switched to acoustic guitar and began performing in coffee houses.
After three years of college, Daniel moved to Los Angeles when he was 21 and got three record deal offers in the first two weeks (“I took the wrong one,” he says with a laugh). The record company said they expected him to compose some of the material so that night he wrote his first song and the next day recorded the album (FOLK SONGS FROM HERE AND THERE).
Moore joined The Fairmount Singers (as a bass-player and singer) and spent a year touring the country as both the opening act and backing band for the popular hit maker Jimmie Rodgers. Daniel also spent two more years on the road performing folk music, first with The Ledbetters and then with his own group.
He returned to Los Angeles in 1965 and became a producer (he and his partner, Dan Dalton, produced 25 acts that year and got 15 of them record deals). The next year he had a novelty hit (“The Bears”) released under the name Fastest Group Alive and a release (Lovin’ Man) by Atlantic Records as the group Nirvana Banana. In 1968 he received his first songwriting check after The Everly Brothers recorded “Deliver Me.” Also in 1968-69 Moore produced The Colours and Buzz Clifford for Dot Records and several albums with Mike Curb’s financial assistance.
In 1970 Moore was a singer (and led the 10-voice choir) on the infamous Mad Dogs & Englishmen Tour featuring Joe Cocker and Leon Russell that was immortalized as a live album and feature film. That same year Daniel recorded his second album, simply called DANIEL MOORE, which was released by ABC/Dunhill.
From the mid-Sixties through the Seventies and Eighties, Moore produced dozens and dozens of albums including ones by Delbert McClinton & Glen Clark (co-produced by T-Bone Burnett,) Burnett’s own first album, Sweathog, Toby Beau, James Booker, Kim Carnes, and Don Preston. Daniel and his brother Matthew performed regularly from 1976 through 1987 as The Moore Brothers Band. Daniel also sang background vocals on numerous albums and tours for artists such as Kim Carnes and Joe Cocker.
Many other artists have recorded songs by Moore including Jerry Jeff Walker, Colin James, Jennifer Warnes, Canned Heat, Levon Helm, David Cassidy, Don Nix, Pacific Gas & Electric, James & Bobby Purify, Mick Abrahams, John Hartford, The Hughes Corporation, and Denny Brooks, with some artists recording more than one Moore composition including Cocker, Raitt, Carnes, David Clayton Thomas of Blood Sweat & Tears, The Dillards, and B.W. Stevensen. In addition, Daniel co-wrote “Fire In The Hole” which was recorded by Marty Grebb for Steven Seagal’s movie “Fire Down Below” and the soundtrack album on Warner Bros. Records.
Occasionally Moore releases his own CDs the country-ish RIDING A HORSE & HOLDING UP THE WORLD, his annual musical Christmas cards to his mother compiled on the instrumental YOSEMITE WONDERLAND, and the acoustic-oriented MARTIN & DANIEL (the title pays tribute to the guitar he has played and written on for four-and-a-half decades).
“Most of my songs I write for myself, not specifically for someone else,” explains Moore.
“I need a combination of energy and inspiration. I can’t force songwriting. I don’t have a schedule. I do it when something moves me. For me the melody almost always comes first and then I write lyrics to fit the mood of the music. My brother got a letter that ended with: ‘Let your light shine in the halls of Shambala.’ I did some research and discovered this word originated in Sanskrit 5,000 years ago. I came up with the words and melody for the song in ten minutes singing a cappella while driving on the freeway. When I got home I picked up my guitar and finished it in another five minutes. But with ‘My Maria,’ it took me two years to write the music and a few of the words. When I played it for B.W. Stevenson, he went right into another room and finished the lyrics in 15 minutes.”
Regarding THE GIVEAWAY, Moore says, “I guess the common denominator of the album is that I wrote all the songs, sang them, produced them and played one or more instruments on them. The CD serves as an overview of my career and a showcase for a bunch of my songs. It’s a good selection of my life’s work.”
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