Rockin' Wild In Chicago
(Delmark (2002) DG-765)
16 tracks - 65 minutes
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: March 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
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 a few sharp slices of Shakey Jake
handling vocals. Another four were taped at the Alex Club in November in 1963 and '64 with Sam
fronting a larger band with saxes and piano, and 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!
Your purchase through this Amazon.com link helps to support this website.
Simply click on the cover at left or the Amazon buy button (if there is one) to order this CD NOW!
"This review is copyright © 2003 by Craig Ruskey, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without permission."
Copyright reuse notice: If you would like to reprint or use this review please include the above copyright notice, contained within the quotation marks, PLUS this statement: "Used with permission." Then send an email to Ray at: email@example.com indicating how you are using the review or the website page address it will be appearing on. Thanks!
You can help support this blues website by making a contribution (click on the banner below for details).
Or mail a donation to: Ray Stiles % Blues On Stage, PO Box 582983, Mpls, MN 55458. Thanks!
Web Design SPECIAL, get your own website for just $50.
Web Hosting & Design:
Web Hosting & Design.
Most affordable web hosting and design services available.
Find out how you can host your current site at Blues On Stage, or how I can help you design your own website!
If you would like your CD reviewed, please send TWO (2) copies, along with promotional material to:
Blues On Stage
PO Box 582983
Minneapolis, MN 55458-2983
E-mail Ray Stiles @ firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.