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The Blues Foundation's 1999 "Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame 2009 "Supportive of the Blues"
Mighty Sam McClain|
Betcha Didn't Know
(Mighty Music, 2005)
Review Date: Oct 2009
by Norman Darwen
The big-voiced, gritty southern soul and blues singers of the sixties are becoming something of an endangered species but Mighty Sam McClain is still roaming the land and roaring. Born in 1943 in Monroe, Louisiana, he began singing in church – of course – and he recalls those gospel roots on several tracks here as he occasionally affirms his faith in his lyrics. But Sam is no museum piece, the first few tracks on this CD certainly pass muster as urban contemporary, and he even employs a rapper on several tracks. Hey, don't turn away, it works. The title track is fourth up, and is the first number that sounds relatively bluesy, rather like a Bobby Bland ballad from the seventies in fact, before the blues pure and simple arrive in no uncertain terms with the slow- to mid-tempo 'Don't Doubt My Love', excellent vocals by Sam and some stinging guitar work from Pat Herlehey, and Sam's trademark horn section blasting away, before sounding almost like a jumping big band on the first few notes of the percolating blues 'What You Want Me To Do'. This soulful, southern, blues groove continues through the next few numbers (though I should mention that 'My Love Will Never Die' is a funky number with a jazzy tinge). This set may not be quite as bluesy as say, Sam's Telarc Blues material, but he is in excellent voice and his fans should waste no time in snapping it up!
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