Imagine Magic Sam holding court at Sylvio's in Chicago, igniting the crowd with bone-shattering leads and crushing chords on a borrowed and beaten Fender Stratocaster with a cigarette burning in the headstock, an amplifier overloading and smoking, while his voice soars, raising the hairs on the back of your neck. The man who invented a style that lives on with Eddie C. Campbell, Guitar Junior, and others, Lord of the West Side; Sam Maghett was at the height of his game when he left Chicago and headed for a higher plane at age 32. Thankfully, his classic sides return in this 25 track disc, with awesome mastering, and better than an hour of playing time.
It's all here; the impassioned vocals, stellar guitar work, rugged grooves, and unleashed power in "Look Whatcha Done," "All My Whole Life," "All Your Love," "Easy Baby," and much more. The insane, almost rockabilly buzz of "Love Me With A Feeling," the absolute genius of "All Your Love," and the monumental "All Night Long," prove that there was no mistake as to who wore the crown around West Side Chicago. His brilliance faltered here and there with a few singles on the Chief label, but even the odd sounding, two-part "Square Dance Rock," and "Blue Light Boogie," are rescued from disaster with some stunning leads. A couple of sharp Crash sides show up, and the bonus comes in the form no less than five alternate takes of Cobra gems.
This is a virtual guitar clinic in a small package. Magic Sam was the man, and still is, more than thirty years after his death. Now imagine Sam onstage, toe-to-toe with Otis Rush and Buddy Guy, all shooting for the winner's slot. One listen to this CD will easily convince anyone as to who came out on top most nights during those historic battles. Fine packaging and detailed notes by Bill Dahl fill out this treat. Information is at www.fuel2000.com and downloads through EMusic.com are available.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Craig Ruskey, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.