Who is Magic Sam and how long was he in jail?

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Magic Sam, a Woodstock performer, born near Grenada, Mississippi was originally named Samuel Maghett in 1937.  He was a successful Blues guitarist.  Not only did Sam become a proficient guitarist by the time he as 13, but he was even making his own instruments.  Sam moved to Chicago in 1950 and was soon playing professionally.  He put together his first band in 1955 with Sly Johnson and they helped develop what has become known as the West Side sound.

As West Side artists became more and more popular, a talent scout discovered the bassist of Magic Sam’s group Willie Dixon.  Dixon being the loyal man that he was refused to leave his friends and they stayed together and ended up signing with a foundering label named Cobra.

In 1957 Sam and company entered the Cobra studio, and under the suggestion of Sly Johnson’s brother Mack Thompson, Sam got his nickname Magic Sam.  Of course they also produced an album titled “All Your Love”.

In 1960 Cobra shut down and Sam was drafted into the Army, which he deserted almost immediately.  Sam then headed back to Chicago and recorded some songs but the Army was hot on his tail and caught up with him, throwing him in jail for desertion.  While I’m not sure how long exactly Sam was in jail he was out by 1961, after receiving a dishonorable discharge.  He then teamed up with Willie Dixon again and recorded some more songs for Crash Records.

Sam went on to record songs such as “West Side Soul”, “Sweet Home Chicago”, I Need You So Bad”, and “You Belong to Me” among many others.  He worked with many musicians such as: Mighty Joe Young, Earnest Johnson, Odie Payne Jr., Shakey Jake and many others.

In 1969 Magic Sam Maghett died of a heart attack, he was only 32.  He was inducted into The Blues Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 1982.  Both “West Side Soul” and “Black Magic” made it into the hall as well.

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