Rockin' Wild In Chicago
(Delmark (2002) DG-765)
by Tony Engelhart
Review date: June 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Although Magic Sam never reached the pinnacle of success as many of his contemporaries, surely due to his sudden death in 1969, nobody better represented the adventurous modern sound of Chicago's West side more proudly than Sam Maghett. Like his most obvious influence, Muddy Waters, Magic was born in Mississippi only to travel to the bright lights of Chicago where his tremolo-rich staccato finger-picking was an entirely fresh phenomenon. Sam was signed to Cobra Records and released the single "All Your Love" which was a regional sensation. After Cobra folded instead of following his label mates to Chess, Magic Sam opted to go with Chief, where he would stay for six years before finally landing at Delmark. With a new label excited to have the young innovative guitarist, Magic Sam would record his two seminal albums, 1967's West Side Soul and the following year's Black Magic and showcased the entire breadth of Sam's West side attack. However, where Magic Sam was most effective was live and Rockin' Wild In Chicago is a testament to this.
This compilation is a collection of live recordings which took place in the timeframe of 1963 to 1968 at four of the hotspots in the windy city. While the majority of these recordings have the production value of a bootleg (often muffled with a heavy hiss), Magic's guitar playing comes through loud and clear. Loose and off-the-cuff, Sam gives the crowds his renditions of such classics as "Further On Up The Road", "Got My Mojo Working" and "Just A Little Bit". Most of the tracks on record are a bit obscure to the casual listener but blues connoisseurs will surely know of their origin. Clocking in at just over an hour, these recordings are magical, despite the antiquated sound of some of the tracks, and this cd is an absolute must for Chicago Blues and Modern Electric Blues fans alike.
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