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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Delmark Artist: Magic Sam - Live At The Avant Garde - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Live At the Avant Garde, from Magic Sam and it's terrific! This is a rare recording from 1968 and we are fortunate to have this turn up and become available. Opening with Freddie King's San-Ho-Zay, Sam is really cutting the groove. A master of phrasing and with clear tone this track is bright and alive. Don't Want No Woman is a cool up paced shuffle track with Sam on vocal with his classic guitar retort followed by Big Mojo Elem on bass and Bob Richey on drums. Capturing Sam at his best this is a great track. BB King's I Need You So Bad is classic with a mixture of Sam, King and Walker riffs shows the diversity of his style. On Junior Parker's Feelin' Good, Sam takes the boogie to a new level. This is an excellent track and you can just feel the electricity in the club. In Lowell Fulson's It's All Your Fault Baby, Sam milks the blues out of a great blues track with nice tremolo effects. You Belong To Me is a blues/R&B track with a lot of chug a lug. Get up and dance... you got to! Bad Luck Blues is one of the best tracks on the release with just the right amount of tempo and guts. Sam's vocals are inspired and his playing spot on. Jr Wells' Come On In This House is a classic soul track and just perfect for Sam's vocal/guitar attack. Real nice guitar phrasing make the solo on this track one of the more memorable of those on this release. Really nice! Next up is Dixon's Hoochie Coochie Man. Sam does a real nice cover of the track with cool guitar riffs throughout. On Muddy Water's Still A Fool, Sam maintains much of Morganfield's original arrangement but of course the addition of Sam's slick guitar work making it a cool change up. That's All I Need is another R&B style track and a great track in it's own right. Sam has a special touch with his own tracks and his own groove. On Otis Rush's All Your Love, Sam does a super job of capturing the feel of Rush yet adding his own flair. His shimmery guitar solo's on this track are spine chilling. On Jimmy Rogers' That's All Right, Sam lays down some of the best vocals on the release. This warm paced track has great drum riffs from Richey and Sam rips into the guitar with double stops that are really hot. On Lookin' Good, Sam takes the pace up to boogie level again and lays down some really chipper guitar riffs which would have been great to experience in person. Really super that it has been captured in audio form for us to enjoy. On Jimmy McCracklin's, Everynight Everyday, Sam has the perfect tempo to fan the flames of this scorching hot blues number. Sam captures the real essence of deep blues on this track tempting you to just lay back in your chair and close your eyes. Excellent! On BB King's Hully Gully Twist, Sam takes it home with a kick. A light hearted instrumental with a springy beat and bopping guitar riffs, Sam leaves you wanting more! This release is a must!!

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  1. Bman, you make no mention of the recording quality on this release. In the past I have found some "long lost and obscure" Magic Sam live dates and the recording quality was horrible. I mean so bad that the quality musicianship was not enough to save it. Like somebody recorded them in a club on a 1968 cassette deck with a hand held mike. So I am skeptical about this one. The sound quality on the attachment is pretty good though. Is that representative of the album?

  2. Hey Dog

    It was recorded in a club and the quality isn't like studio but it is quite good and is now in my permanent collection! Bman