Sam Lay & His Blues Review
@ the Blues Saloon, February 14-15, 1997

What a weekend this was - two living Chicago blues legends in town, Jimmy Rogers and Sam Lay. All I can say is whew!

Sam was in town last fall for an outstanding show and delivered the goods again this time (see review in Blues News issue #11, December 1996). He had a new harmonica player with him tonight, Robert Stone who handled some of the singing along with Sam and BB Jones. Stone is very good on harp sounding like the old Chicago harp masters (Little Walter, Junior Wells and Big Walter Horton). He has a great voice and stage presence and really added another dimension to Sam's band.

The sax (Jesse Scinto) was more forceful tonight than when he played last fall after just joining the band. He has found his stride with the band and has more confidence in strutting his stuff. BB Jones was in great form as always - still sounding, looking and playing like Mr. King. Louis Marini returned on bass.

Sam Lay (long time Howlin' Wolf drummer during the early 60's) was just terrific - he has so much energy behind those drums. It's always such a pleasure to watch and listen to his delicate touch on the drums and his trade mark double shuffle…there is good reason why he is called the shuffle master. The list of blues greats he has played drums with reads like a who's who of modern day Chicago blues.

There was another change in this band line-up too. "Westside" West opened each set on drums, doing several songs before Sam came up to take over. Sam joked that he also needed the extra driver. The drum set was positioned right up front on stage so Sam's performance was highlighted. At the start of the second set Sam did his usual solo guitar spot this time adding several more songs to his fine traditional delta style playing.

Sam Lay always puts on an entertaining show. Mixing in some good ol' rock n' roll and rhythm and blues with the classic Chicago blues standards. His deep blusey voice is as strong as ever and his band is top notch. It's great to hear all the different parts of the band as they come in on their respective solos.

Be sure to put his show as a must the next time he comes to town. You can also listen to some good Chicago blues on his recent 1996 album Stone Blues and his 1992 Shuffle Master CD.

Copyright 1997 by Ray M. Stiles. All rights reserved. All reviews are copyright protected. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.