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Magic Sam

Background information
Birth name Samuel Gene Maghett
Also known as Magic Sam
Born February 14, 1937(1937-02-14)
Grenada, Mississippi, United States
Died December 1, 1969 (aged 32)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Chicago Blues, soul blues
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1957 – 1969
Labels Delmark

Samuel "Magic Sam" Gene Maghett (February 14, 1937 – December 1, 1969) was an American blues musician. Maghett was born in Grenada, Mississippi and learned to play the blues from listening to records by Muddy Waters and Little Walter. After moving to Chicago at the age of nineteen, he was signed by Cobra Records and became well known as a bluesman after his first record, "All Your Love" in 1957. He was known for his distinctive tremolo guitar playing.[1]

Contents

Life and career

After moving to Chicago, Illinois in 1950, his guitar playing earned bookings at blues clubs in Chicago's West Side. Sam recorded for the Cobra label from 1957 to 1959, recording singles, including "All Your Love" and "Easy Baby". They never appeared on the charts yet they had a profoud influence, far beyond Chicago's guitarists and singers. Together with the records of Otis Rush (also a Cobra artist) and Buddy Guy, they made a manifesto for a new kind of blues.[2] Around this time Sam also worked briefly with Homesick James Williamson.[2] Sam gained a following before being drafted into the Army. Not a natural soldier, Sam deserted after a couple of weeks' service and was subsequently caught and sentenced to six months imprisonment. He was given a dishonourable discharge on release, but the experience had undermined his confidence and immediate recordings for Mel London's Chief Records lacked the purpose of their predecessors.[3]

In 1963, he gained national attention for his single "Feelin' Good (We're Gonna Boogie)". After successful touring of the United States, UK and Germany, he was signed to Delmark Records in 1967, where he recorded West Side Soul and Black Magic. He also continued performing live and toured with blues harp player, Charlie Musselwhite.

Sam's breakthrough performance was at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1969,[4] which won him many bookings in the United States and Europe. His life and career was cut short when he suddenly died of a heart attack in December of the same year. He was 32 years old. He was buried in the Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.

His guitar style, vocals and songwriting ability have inspired and influenced many blues musicians ever since. In The Blues Brothers, Jake Blues dedicates the band's performance of "Sweet Home Chicago" to the "late, great Magic Sam".

In 1982, Sam was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

The stage name Magic Sam was devised by Sam's bass player and childhood friend Mack Thompson at Sam's first recording session for Cobra, from an approximation of "Maghett Sam". The name Sam was using at the time, Good Rocking Sam, was already being used by another artist.[5]

Citation

"Magic Sam had a different guitar sound," said his record producer, Willie Dixon. "Most of the guys were playing the straight 12-bar blues thing, but the harmonies that he carried with the chords was a different thing altogether. This tune "All Your Love", he expressed with such an inspirational feeling with his high voice. You could always tell him, even from his introduction to the music." [2]

Discography

See also

References

  1. ^ Gillett, Charlie (1996). The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll ((2nd Ed.) ed.). New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press. pp. 177–179. ISBN 0-306-80683-5.  
  2. ^ a b c Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. pp. 143–144. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.  
  3. ^ oldies.com biography - accessed January 2008
  4. ^ casacadeblues.org biography - accessed January 2008
  5. ^ Rowe, M (1981): Chicago Blues: the City and the Music. New York, Da Capo Press. pp. 178-179

External links

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