Sam Taylor, Jr. - The Stinger (GRT 12)
SAM TAYLOR, JR.I just got the sad news that Long Island legend Sam 'Bluzman' Taylor passed away yesterday after his long struggle with heart disease.
Like Little Buster before him, his 'Blues' identity tended to obscure his soulful roots. He started out on the Junior label in 1959 as Good Rockin' Sammy "T", with single releases (under a variety of names) for at least ten other companies (including Capitol, Atlantic and Enjoy) during the sixties and seventies... but that's not all. He was a founding member of Joey Dee & The Starliters, whose standing gig at The Peppermint Lounge led to one of the biggest hits of 1961. He then spent years as the Musical Director for New York Soul Queen Maxine Brown, and as an in-demand chitlin' circuit guitarist backing up everyone from The Isleys to Otis Redding.
This red hot record we have here was lifted from his much sought after 1969 GRT LP, The Tunnels Of My Mind. Just dripping with soul, Taylor's high energy delivery takes no prisoners. "Let me spell it for ya - S.A.M.!" Simply amazing stuff. The rest of the album cranks as well (special thanks to our friend Kevin Kiley for sending along the audio), with soulful versions of songs like Dark End Of The Street and Hey Girl that will give you chills... but that's not all.
Sam was the man behind those infectious disco-era hits by the B.T. Express, like Do It ('Til You're Satisfied) and Peace Pipe, something I never knew until now. I admit it, I loved that stuff. 'Disco' or not, it was homegrown Brooklyn funk (even though it was recorded out in La-La land). The left coast took it's toll on Sam, I'm told, and he wound up drying out in Arizona, which is where he would begin to re-invent himself as the 'Bluzman' (like so many others were doing around the same time).
He built quite a following in and around Tuscon, and the Blues CDs he released in the nineties are as good as anything else out there. Eventually, Sam came on home, and took up residence as Long Island's own Ambassador of the Blues. I guess I kind of took him for granted... he'd always be there on stage somewhere in Port Jefferson or out here in Riverhead at the Blues Fest or at some bar in Bay Shore or Patchogue. I could turn on my radio and listen to his incredible 'Blues With A Feeling' show on WUSB every Friday. He was an actor, an author, one hell of a songwriter, and just a cookin' guitar player.
I guess the last time I saw him was at the Get Busterized! tribute a couple of years ago. He was absolutely fantastic.
There will be a public viewing tomorrow, Wednesday, January 7th, from 4pm until 7pm at the Moloney Funeral Home at 130 Carleton Avenue in Central Islip, New York.
A private ceremony will be held on Thursday in Brooklyn for family and close friends.
The public service will be held on Friday, January 9th at 11am at the Moloney Funeral Home, followed by a procession out to Calverton National Cemetery, where he will be buried.
Please join Sam's family and friends for a celebration of his life and music tomorrow night, January 7th, at Bobbique in Patchogue at 8pm.
...and Keep The Blues Alive.