MAGIC SAM BLUES BAND
DELMARK RECORDS DE 620
I JUST WANT A LITTLE BIT–WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG–EASY BABY–YOU BELONG TO ME–IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT–SAME OLD BLUES–SAN-HO-ZAY–YOU BETTER STOP–KEEP ON LOVIN’ ME BABY–WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG (ALT.)–I JUST WANT A LITTLE BIT (ALT.)–EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE ALRIGHT–KEEP ON DOIN WHAT YOU’RE DOIN–BLUES FOR ODIE PAYNE–SAME OLD BLUES (ALT.)–WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG (ALT 2)–KEEP ON LOVIN ME BABY (ALT.)
The fine folks at Delmark Records have done it again, with a Deluxe Edition release of Magic Sam Maghett’s “Black Magic.” There are eighteen tracks of deep West Side blues with a touch of soul. Two cuts have never been released, and there are some sweet alternate takes included. And, the accompanying booklet features never-before-seen photos of Sam and the band.
And what a band it is—Sam is on guitar and vocals, with Mighty Joe Young on second guitar, Mac Thompson on bass, Odie Payne, Jr., on drums, Lafayette Leake on piano, and the venerable Eddie Shaw on sax. This is a veritable Hall Of Fame of Chicago bluesmen!
Sam would sadly pass away on December 1, 1969, shortly after the release of this set, at the age of 32. He proudly proclaimed that he thought “this album’s the best I’ve heard!” This one is full of the stinging guitar that made Sam the legend he is, and it also has its share of soul-blues cuts, too, thanks to the sax work of Eddie Shaw. That’s how this one kicks off, with “Just A Teeny-Weeny Bit Of Your Love,” with Sam and “Eddie baby” playing the call-and-response figures perfectly. Another fine example of that soulful strut is one of Sam’s originals, “You Belong To Me.”
There’s plenty of the strong, passion-filled blues that made Sam so popular, too. Label founder Bob Koester states in the liner notes that that players from the West Side were products of their environment, as it were. That side of town had a rough-and-tumble reputation, and Sam, Jimmy Dawkins, and others from the West Side epitomized that area thru their raw, stinging sound. Sam lets that powerful side show thru on “It’s All Your Fault,” a lively version of Don Nix’s “Same Old Blues,” and a sweet, slow-burning read of “You Better Stop.”
Two cuts, alternate takes of “Same Old Blues” and “What Have I Done Wrong” are previously-unissued, and our favorite was “Keep On Doin’ What You’re Doin,” which has Sam stating before the song starts that “I got nothin’ but expert musicians–I don’t have to worry ’bout anything!”
That’s what makes this Deluxe Edition of Magic Sam Maghett’s “Black Magic” so much fun to listen to. These guys were riding high and at the top of their game in the tough world of playing blues in Chicago. It is so sad that Sam passed so young, before becoming the star he surely would have been. Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.