Magic Sam

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Magic Sam

Postby blueswriter » Tue Feb 15, 2005 10:56 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Feb-15-05 AT 06:06 PM (EST)]Magic Sam
Rockin' Wild In Chicago
Delmark (2002) DG-765 ... inwild.jpg

16 tracks - 65 minutes. Essential. There isn't much to say about the Sam Maghett story that hasn't been written countless times since his tragic and early death in 1969 at the age of 32. Magic Sam was the match, the fuse, and the stick of dynamite that blew open Chicago in the mid-1950's, when a younger and tougher bunch of Turks began what we now know as the "West Side Sound." By taking the horn-based, larger band blues of B.B. King and stripping them back to the bare essentials, mostly due to economics, Sam headed a charge that also included Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, and other stalwart guitarists, but as strong as his contemporaries were, it's widely accepted that none had the crushing and catastrophic abilities that Magic Sam possessed.

Much like earlier 'live' accounts of Magic Sam, Rockin' Wild In Chicago isn't going to win any sonic awards, but the historic importance of what's here should not be taken lightly. Everything is laced with Sam's inventive and towering guitar work, and while audibly challenged, his soaring vocals are caught well in the mix, regardless of the three Chicago locations where the recordings were done. Eight tracks stem from Big Bill's Copacabana, in October of 1966 where Sam gets able support from Mac Thompson's bass and Odie Payne Jr. on drums. In addition to that, there are a few sharp slices of Shakey Jake handling vocals with the band. Another four tracks were taped at the Alex Club in November in 1963 and '64 with Sam fronting a larger outfit with saxes and piano, but this is not previously heard material from earlier Magic Sam 'live' recordings. The final handful are from a 1968 performance at Mother Blues, again working as a trio.

Whether powering through Albert Collins' Tremble or Earl Hooker's Rockin' Wild, gritty shuffles in the form of the old Bobby Bland favorite, Further On Up The Road, or riveting slow blues like It's All Your Fault Baby, there's little doubt as to what Magic Sam could do, and from the shouts of encouragement among his bandmates and audience, it's clear that he worked a room to its fullest potential. This is a respected and legendary figure in his own environment; the neighborhood clubs that he so often frequented, and the fact that we now have more of this material is an historic event. Sadly, it also reminds us what a tremendous loss his death was. Absolutely critical!

© 2003 by Craig Ruskey
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RE: Magic Sam

Postby jeffl » Tue Feb 15, 2005 11:05 pm

Hail, and heartily done, BDub! Thanks, once again.
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RE: Magic Sam

Postby bighollowtwang » Tue Feb 15, 2005 11:07 pm

Thanks for the review! Guess I'll have to get this one too...I'll gladly put up with bootleg quality sound to hear more Magic Sam.

It's a shame that Sam seemed to leave my two favorite Cobra recordings ("Love Me With A Feeling" and "21 Days In Jail") out of his live repertoire.
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