Magic Sam Live review…December 16, 2013….

MAGIC SAM

LIVE AT THE AVANT GARDE

DELMARK RECORDS  DE 833

SAN-HO-ZAY—DON’T WANT NO WOMAN–I NEED YOU SO BAD–FEELIN’ GOOD–IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT BABY–YOU BELONG TO ME–BAD LUCK BLUES–COME ON IN THIS HOUSE–HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAN–STILL A FOOL–THAT’S ALL I NEED–ALL YOUR LOVE (I MISS LOVING)–THAT’S ALL RIGHT–LOOKIN’ GOOD–EVERYNIGHT EVERYDAY–HULLY GULLY TWIST

Magic Sam Maghett passed away much too soon on December 1, 1969,  at only the age of thirty-two.  He left only a handful of recordings to preserve his legacy, and, fortunately for blues fans everywhere, a new set has been unearthed to add to his library.  Delmark Records has just released “Live At The Avant Garde,” recorded in Milwaukee, WI, at the Avant Garde Coffee House, on June 22, 1968.  He has Big Mojo Elem on bass, and Bob Richey on drums.

This set captures Sam at his gritty, raw, best—in front of a small but highly-appreciative crowd, and he gives them exactly what they came for—authentic Chicago blues with just a touch of soul.  He kicks things off with the rousing “San-Ho-Zay,” and keeps the blues rockin’ with the freight-train boogie of Junior Parker’s “Feelin’ Good,” and again later in the set with his own “Lookin’ Good.”

As the show progressess, Sam’s blues get deeper and more intense, and those cuts served as our favorites, and are songs that were not normally associated with Sam’s repertoire.  In succession, he hits his stride with his own “Bad Luck Blues,” then breaks into a sweet version of Junior Wells’ “Come On In This House.”  He then tackles two Muddy classics, “Hoochie Coochie Man,” and the intense, stinging, “Still A Fool.”  Toward the end of the set, he brings out another original, the upbeat, Sam Cooke-ish, soul romp of “That’s All I Need,” before closing with a B. B. King instrumental, “Hully Gully Twist.’

Magic Sam was undeniably the king of the West Side sound, with his earthy vocals and Delta-meets-Chicago guitar licks.  With “Live At The Avant Garde,” fans have another reason to rejoice at the amazing talents of a bluesman who gave us all he had for the short time he was with us.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.

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