Friday, August 12, 2005

Magic Sam

Give Me Time (1968)
I'm So Glad (1968)

Magic Sam is a fantastic vocalist and phenomenal guitar player. His album West Side Soul (1967) is considered by many to be one of the best blues records of all-time. Sam was born in Mississippi but moved to Chicago and made a few friends. Magic Slim grew up with Sam, Syl Johnson was known to give Sam a few pointers here and there, and Syl's brother Mack Thompson was Sam's bass player.

Sam's recording career began for Cobra Recordings--his labelmates included his friend Magic Slim and legend Otis Rush. Sam did some great recordings for Cobra, but the label folded around 1959. Instead of following Slim and Otis over to Chess, Sam recorded for the Chief label after his Cobra years. However, after making a few recordings for that label, moved to Delmark Records. Delmark released the essential West Side Soul and the follow-up Black Magic.

There was never a chance to really tap the potential of Magic Sam. After years of playing to huge crowds both in the Chicago area and around the States, Sam was primed for a big break. Stax was planning on signing him after his deal with Delmark was through but the label never got the chance. Magic Sam died of a heart attack on December 1, 1969--he was only 32 at the time.

"Give Me Time" is from the album of the same name, released 22 years after Sam's death. All the recordings on the disc were made in his basement, straight onto a tape deck (you can here some domestic noises throughout the, washing machine, etc.). This song shows off Sam's voice more than it does his guitar playing while "I'm So Glad" shows off Sam's guitar ability a bit more. Enjoy.


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