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She Belongs to the Devil

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Album Review

Washboard Sam was a pivotal figure in the late '30s and 1940s on the Chicago prewar blues scene, taking country hokum concepts to the city and to the edge of R&B and even small-combo jazz. Yes, he played washboard (complete with a self-mounted cowbell), usually in the same rhythm, but a case could be made that he got everything possible out of its percussive capabilities. His real strength was his rich, strong voice, which always carried a kind of unfettered joy, and his ability to perfectly straddle the line between rural and urban sounds, which made him an immensely popular performer wherever he played. This two-disc set collects several of his Bluebird recordings, made between 1936 and 1947, and features Sam doing his thing with the likes of Big Bill Broonzy (Washboard's stepbrother), Memphis Slim, Roosevelt Sykes, Frank Owens, Ransom Knowling, and a young Willie Dixon. This is good-time acoustic blues and if it gets a bit repetitive, well, it's the blues and it isn't about variety. With 40 tracks of this stuff, She Belongs to the Devil will be all most listeners will ever need (and maybe then some).


Born: 15 July 1910 in Walnut Ridge, AR

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s, '40s

A popular hokum blues artist, Washboard Sam recorded hundreds of records in the late '30s and '40s, usually with singer/guitarist Big Bill Broonzy. Out of all the washboard players of the era, Sam was the most popular, which was due not only to his to his washboard talent, but also to his skills as a songwriter, as well as his strong voice. As an accompanist, Sam not only played with Broonzy, but also with bluesmen like Bukka White, Memphis Slim, Willie Lacey, and Jazz Gillum. Washboard Sam (born...
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She Belongs to the Devil, Washboard Sam
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