Mighty Sam McClain, Betcha Didn’t Know, Blues for the Soul
PRESS RELEASE: Mighty Sam McClain Update
As you all know, I send out a LOT of Press releases. Few give me as much pleasure as sending one out on behalf of our friend Mighty Sam McClain. Of course you have heard me refer to him many times over as "the best living soul singer", so obviously I am biased.
If you have a moment today, do me (and yourself) a fava and stop off at his site and just look a the legacy of GREAT soul music that he has created during a period of time when all of the ‘black music experts" in the mainstream keep telling us that there is no great soul music. www.mightysam.com
Stay tuned, we got a whole lot more MIGHTY SAM coming…
Mighty Sam will be releasing his first CD since 2003. "Betcha Didn’t Know" will be released in the US and Europe in July 2009. It will be released on the Mighty Music label and distributed by City Hall Records. This is an upbeat CD, perfect for today’s market. It is a different MSM sound, with his signature "Mighty Horns" but, with a bit more Funk & Soul and Hip-Hop for a more contemporary audience.
In recent years, he has been involved in community works and benefit projects as well as songwriting in the interim. His latest released project Is "Give US Your Poor" a serious compilation of major recording artists (Pete Segar, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Sweet Honey and the Rock, Natalie Merchant and others) He performed on a track with Natalie Merchant and wrote and recorded, "Show Me The Way" with Jon Bon Jovi. The proceeds from this project will benefit the national initiative to raise awareness about homelessness in the US called Give US Your Poor.
His songwriting has led to the CD "Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey), which was completed and recorded in 2007-2008. It is unreleased as yet but songs from it can be heard at www.mightysam.com. The title has aroused much controversy. Listen to the song to see what you think! He continues to collaborate with his guitar player, Pat Herlehy and a new project is almost ready to record.
Last August, MSM singed a contract with 20th Century Fox for the video rights to his song "New Man In Town" which appeared in 12 episodes of the Ally McBeal Show. It is now available in video around the world!
Mighty Sam also has signed a contract for an exciting project to be recorded in June with Norwegian producer Erik Hillestad at CedarHouse Sound and Recording in Sutton, NH, where Sam has been recording for years. The collection of duets will be sung by MSM and Iranian pop sensation Mahsa Vahdat. The CD, "Love Duets Across Civilizations" will be released in the US, Europe and the Middle East in the fall.
The story behind the delayed release of "Betcha Didn’t Know" is good press, indicative of the state of the industry. For press interest or booking contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.mightysam.com .
ALBUM REVIEW: Mighty Sam McClain – Betcha Didn’t Know
I was introduced to Mighty Sam’s music on Soul Patrol many years ago. I had the pleasure of meeting Mighty Sam and his wife a few years ago, along with a few of my SP friends from Chicago. (and he’s a very nice person)
He has a new CD out entitled "Betcha Didn’t Know". 13 tracks that I’m sure you will enjoy.
What I like about Mighty Sam’s music is that it’s real, and he uses a real band. (no keyboards, drum machines, etc; REAL MUSICIANS and a kick ass horn section!) Plus, Mighty Sam sounds like he’s having a great time in the studio.
From the opening track "I Can’t Stop The Funk", is exactly what the title of the song says. A nice funky groove that will get you on your feet dancin’.
–"Lift Me Up" is another funk burner
–"Never Go Away" is a nice slow tempo ballard
–"Betcha Didn’t Know" is the title track of the CD, with a smooth jazzy number with a stepper’s groove, that us Chicagoans would enjoy.
–"What You Want Me To Do" a nice bluesy number
–"Things Ain’t What They Used To Be" another bluesy medium tempo groove
–"Just Wanna Be" a slow blues number with a country feel
–"Free" another stepper’s groove, with a slowed down bassline, reminding me of Grover Washington Jr’s "Mr. Magic"
–"Funky Love" a uptempo funky groove
–"Hold On To Your Dreams" a slow bluesy number
–"Be Ready" the closing track of the CD, with an up-tempo bluesy shuffle with a gospel message. A great way to close out the CD.
13 tracks total, and it’s great hearing some new music from Mr. Mighty Sam McCain. Hopefully this CD will not only find it’s way into your hands, but perhaps on the playlist of some radio stations, as well. It’s a fun CD, and would love to see Mighty Sam get his just do. BUY IT!
ALBUM REVIEW: Mighty Sam McClain – One More Bridge To Cross
‘One More Bridge To Cross’ is much like Soul-Patrol itself
Don’t be fooled by any preconceived notions. It’s equal part blues, funk, soul, gospel (and even a taste of rock).
It’s one of the best CD’s I have heard this year. And it’s got a few surprises on it, as you will all hear, right here on Soul-Patrol.Net Radio
Our special internet broadcast featuring NEW music from Mighty Sam McClain’s new CD called ONE MORE BRIDGE TO CROSS, featuring the songs: Are You Ready For Love, What’s Your Name, I Thought I Heard Your Voice, One More Bridge To Cross, Witness, Most of All, Been There, Done That. You will also hear analysis/commentary of Mighty Sam’s music from a historical perspective, covering influences from Little Walter, Johnny Guitar Watson, Santana, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding and others.
And when your done listening to our special internet broadcast of One More Bridge To Cross, by Mighty Sam McClain, go on over to his website, read more about his story and then buy the CD directly from there. It’s sure to be one of the best Soul Music releases of 2003!
It is VERY important that EVERYONE here get behind this CD and ORDER IT ONLINE DIRECTLY FROM THE WEBSITE
Since it’s an independent effort, Sam’s website will be a primary distribution mechanism. If you are a Soul/Funk/Blues/Jazz/Gospel DJ, journalist, etc be sure to contact Mighty Sam via his website during your visit to arrange for interviews, promo copies, press kits, etc.
Thanks Sam McClain, you are an inspiration to all of us here on Soul-Patrol. We plan to walk with you as you CROSS THAT BRIDGE… –Bob Davis
by Amelia Feathers
Mighty Sam McClain has lived the blues he sings about, however he didn’t let his past hard times eclipse his musical aspirations. He overcame the dark times of childhood abuse, adult alcoholism and homelessness without accepting hopelessness. He trusted in God, himself and his natural singing gift to protect him from sinking permanently into an eternal hellhole.
McClain’s gospel blues singing style was his comforter in troubling times and is again showcased on his second CD with theTelarc label, ‘Sweet Dreams’. This is reaching into his past for his ‘first hit’, the Patsy Cline ‘s classic. ‘Here I Come Again ‘ is the first cut, and McClain is coming again with his music to deliver to listeners his trademark style of singing–the gospel truth. ‘Sweet Dreams’,scheduled for release in June will be a mixture of his preach teaching and soulful blues. The new CD is coming right off the successful year McClain had with his last collection, ‘Blues For the Soul.’ The new song collection will also piggyback on the success of the mainstream acceptance of his tune, ‘New Man In Town,’ which was featured last season on the popular television series ‘Ally McBeal.
The song ‘Here I Come Again,’ could be McClain’s epitaph. He didn’t succumb to failure because each time life’s experiences almost sucked him into the abyss; McClain proved through faith he is a soul survivor.
Born in Winnsboro, La., ‘right up the road from Monroe,’ Mighty Sam was a boy when he joined a church gospel group. The group would sing soul-stirring gospel songs filled with so much of God’s spirit until women in the church feinted.
Before he left home at age 13, McClain was told repeatedly he was nothing and wouldn’t ever amount to anything by his stepfather.
‘I had to get away from that negative crap my stepfather was telling me before it destroyed me,’ McClain said. ‘Singing made me worth something so I left home at a very young age. That’s when I started to realize my voice was God’s gift. Since leaving home I’ve been music journey.’
McClain traveled the chitlin’ circuit with musician Little Melvin Underwood, who became his music mentor. The young teenager was promoted from Underwood’s valet to lead vocalist in the band. They traveled to Florida in 1963. Back then he was known as Good Rocking Sam. A promoter introduced McClain to a Pensacola audience and instead of calling him Good Rocking Sam, he said, Mighty Sam. A mistake probably made by the promoter after hearing the young man sing.
In 1966, during a performance in Pensacola, Florida producer and disc jockey ‘Papa’ Don Schroeder was in the audience, recognized his singing ability and got him into the studio initially to record a song called ‘Georgia Pines’ . While in the studio, an Amy Records representative, along with Spooner & Oldham, convinced him to record Patsy Cline’s ‘Sweet Dreams.’
Soon after, McClain had some successes after the first record. He then recorded at Muscle Shoals, which resulted in the 45s ‘Fannie May’ and ‘In the Same Old Way.’ He performed at the Apollo Theater, but those successes turned out to be premature. McClain somehow fell hard and fast and ended up living on park benches, digging for food in the garbage and selling plasma for money.
In 1989, McClain’s faith remained intact so when The Neville Brothers befriended him and offered McClain some work he was ready to go. That year he was unexpectedly contacted for a tour to Japan which included a live recording. ‘Live InJapan’ featuring Wayne Bennett ( former guitar player for Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland) proved to be a jump start for his career.
McClain was living his musical dream now. More recordings were released, ‘Sledgehammer Soul,’ ‘Down Home Blues,’ and ‘Journey.’ ‘Joy and Pain – Live in Europe,’ was a Cross Cut label release in 1998. His final recording with Audio Quest was ‘Soul Survivor – The Best of Mighty Sam McClain.’
Just as his career was getting really hot a call from David E. Kelley made McClain’s music an even hotter property.
McClain thinks his songwriting and singing has become better with time. He is anxious for listeners to hear what he’s feeling about his music. His new CD will have some songs he’s wanted to record that he didn’t write himself.
He is paying attention to God and other artists also. McClain wants to collaborate with other artists in the near future. He was recently told Stevie Wonder is an admirer of his talents. For McClain the admiration is mutual. One song he wrote in 1978 he composed thinking he would want Wonder to sing..
For the upcoming release McClain said it’s some of his best work. However he believes his songs are like his children. He admits at one time under different management his songs weren’t going to the ‘right schools.’
— Amelia Feathers
This album is a bit different than his previous work that I have been exposed to. However it sounds a lot more like what Mighty Sam sounded like when I saw him LIVE earlier this year
It’s more diverse than the other albums I have heard by Mighty Sam McClain and if all was right in the world, you would be hearing these songs on both your local Soul and Jazz radio stations, and you wouldn’t be surprised one bit if it showed up on a Gospel radio show.
I also realize than many of you have never heard the music of Mighty Sam McClain and are at a disadvantage, to therefore I will help you out by including the names of some artists that a particular song will remind you of.
Here are the tracks
1. All We Need is Love
2. Dark Side of the Street
3. Love One Another
4. Going Back to New Orleans
5. No One Can Take Your Place
6. Jesus Got the Blues
7. Sweet Lady
8. Battlefield of Love
9. Mighty’s Prayer
10. Sing Me Some Blues
11. Can’t Stand It
12. Not I
Diverse as it is, the central theme of Mighty Sam’s music remains intact, "we got to love one another, even when we got the blues". Mighty Sam is not your typical artist. His music is soulful, funky, jazzy, bluesy and yet his words challenge the listener to confront their own lives and hold themselves accountable for their actions. Supposedly "message music" went out in the 1970’s, but Mighty Sam doesn’t give a damn about what is trendy, he cares much more about telling the truth, and telling it straight from his heart.
Go to Sam’s website and sample these songs for yourself (you won’t be sorry)
By Bob Davis
I didn’t catch all of the song titles so please accept my apologies…
Mighty Sam McClain was in his usual soulful groove. The biggest surprise here was the FUNKINESS of his band, which at times sounded to me like Booker T. & the MG’s and at other times like the JB’s.
1. SUPER FONKY crotch grabbin song – that sounded like Al Green singing in front of Booker T. & the MG’s
2. Where Have You been so Long" – SERIOUS grinding music of the type that you will actually see people grinding to at 2 in the afternoon in certain inner city bars!
3. Thank you Mister – a bouncy positive "boggie’
4. "To his Mother The Lord Will" – this was also a STANK funk jam, with Mighty Sam providing the soulful vocals.
5. A Reggae Tinged Jam – nice beat
6. You Got To Prove it to Me – Funky stax style number
7. "Stand by Me" – GREAT cover of the Ben E. King classic, with improvisation and style
8. "Baby I’m Yours" – (no not a cover of the Barbra Lewis classic) VERY phunky cut, kinda sounding like the JB’s being fronted by King Floyd. Great horn work
9. "The Thrill is Gone" – Very nice cover of the BB King classic
10. "Long Train Runnin" – nice cover of the Doobie brothers classic (put a little dobbie in your FUNK?)
11. "Love Train" – Accapella version of the old O’Jay’s classic, very inspiring, very much on the mark
I have listened to all of Mighty Sam’s CD’s and as good as they are, seeing him live is a truly uplifting experience. He improvises on all of these songs and adds his own flava to the covers, and makes the songs his own..
The show was held at Chicago Blues, located on 8th Ave between 13th & 14th
Sam and his band played for about 1.5 hrs, I got there at 11 pm and headed straight for the dressing room to meet Mighty Sam, he greeted me with a hug and we talked for a few minutes before it was time to go on stage.
Ya know, sometimes I think that Black folks think that we are still living in an era of legalized segregation, afraid to venture into places where they think white people might be or into places that don’t advertise on "Negro radio stations" or on video music channels where folks are performing damn near naked and can’t put together a sentence.
People write to me EVERY DAY, asking me where they can find some good ol SOUL MUSIC…
Each one of us who calls ourselves a "soul music fan", should make a pledge to ourselves to check out a live music event at a "blues venue" (concert, festival or club) during the next year.
Mighty Sam has got a POWERFUL message that runs like a thread throughout all of the songs he sang during the set. It’s a POSITIVE message about LOVE, SOUL and GOD.
(With apologies to Rickey Vincent for the format of this review :-))
— Bob Davis