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Old 03-06-2021, 02:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2020
Location: Canada
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Default Magic Sam-West Side Soul




Music fans often speak of an education in the blues. Putting aside the possibility of some cruel joke (like somebody taking your life savings, handing you a guitar and suggesting you write a golden country blues great--you were always such a music lover anyway, allow us to help) it typically means certain essential recordings that either track and signify crucial moments in the development of the blues or possibly even music after (or around) the blues. This is all very obvious and hardly worth mentioning (not even so as to include the barely witty aside about especially cruel pranksters).

Anyway, I think it very reasonable to include Magic Sam's West Side Soul in such a list. Why? Well others do too. But more than this the album showcases a performer and composer of the blues that captured not only it's hard edges but it's smoother corners as well. It's real pretty. The first song displays this: "That's All I Need", with it's soulful chords and steady pace, is a feast for the ears and it's content is gentle and emotive. It doesn't paint a picture of love that is exceptionally distressing. Nobody is heartbroken or uncontrollably infatuated. Sam is just talking about how al the luxuries of the speakers life do not hold water to being in love.

This is not to say that really depressing blues is bad. But it's not really Sam's specialty. He's more of a rock and roller too. He shuffles like Bo Diddley and bounces like Elvis and Chuck Berry throughout. Consequently, he has some great riffs too. And his singing is the perfect counterpoint to them. He moans and wails like B.B. King but is much more withdrawn like John Lee Hooker. It's electric blues that doesn't disparage electricity and rock music but uses it as a springboard for new sounds to describe the same old feelings.

Highly Recommended.

5/5
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