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Live At The Blue Note West

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Living in paradise

Holy Roller - track 10

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Review:


In the early days of rural Blues, singers entertained local folks and audiences by their song writing, singing and storytelling abilities. One old blues story was the tale of “Mr. Charlie” where a stuttering child who cannot speak clearly tells Mr. Charlie his mill is burning down by singing the news to him. Songwriter Samuel R. Favers, known professionally on stage as Sammy Blue, may be the last of the Blues artists still performing that has that perfect trifecta of singing, songwriting and storytelling. Live At The Blue Note West captures his art in all three categories. While his playing and singing on this CD is obviously for the entire audience, Sammy’s storytelling and dialogue often gives each listener the feeling it is directed to them personally.

Sammy Blue has performed on three continents over the past 40 years with his band and as a solo artist.

1 – Modern Woman
2 – Reason To Live
3 – Song Prep
4 – I’ve Been Fooled
5 – A Real Night Club
6 – Living in paradise
7 – Selma’s Song
8 – All You Need
9 – Find Some Way To Get Along
10 – Holy Roller
11 – I Miss You Baby
12 – This Happened One Night At The Club
13 – Everythang & Mo’
14 – Plastic Surgery, Slide Guitar Players & A Big Lie
15 – Day Job
16 – Walking Woman Blues
17 – Good Night & Thanks

“Sammy Blues is described in the short liner notes as “The Crown Prince of Piedmont Blues”, although to me he comes across as a dynamic meld of Lightnin’ Hopkins and Larry Garner with a bit of Taj Mahal thrown in for good measure – in other words a true blues troubadour with well-developed talents as an artist, songwriter and story-teller.

This live set, I believe, confirms my assumptions as Sammy mixes “life-stories” with conversational anecdotes about night club experiences, song preparation and “plastic surgery, slide guitar players & a big lie” – all things that the audience can associate with and which draws them inexorably into his own “blues web”.

Sammy is blessed with a relaxed but “knowing” and “well lived-in” blues-voice, a fluent and naturally appealing  guitar style, an engaging personality, and the ability to write true-to-life lyrics that audience recognise and can personally associate with.

“Modern Woman” is a prime example of that Hopkins/Garner meld – an intense blues accentuated by sparse fretwork.  The strolling “Reason To Live” is permeated with shades of Taj Mahal, as is the countrified “Living In Paradise”.  Garner meets Taj Mahal on the conversational “I’ve Been Fooled” – the Taj influence, this time spiced with elements of Blind Willie McTell again appears on “I Miss You Baby” and “Holy Roller” with Sammy laying down some evocative slide.

The Piedmont caveat is evident on the lilting “All You Need” and the funkier “Find Some Way To Get Along” – and everything is rounded out trombone adding a New Orleans’ feel to “Walking Woman Blues”

If you love quality old-time acoustic blues then I guarantee you will love this set.  I am and I did!”
– Mick Rainsford, ENGLAND BLUES MAGAZINE.

Label: Cd Baby
Catalog number: 5637736417
Release Date: Feb 15, 2011

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