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Betcha Didn't Know

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Album Review

Mighty Sam McClain is a straitlaced, funky, get-down singer with his roots in blues and gutbucket soul. He's been consistent in bringing danceable rhythms to his tunes without resorting to retrospective nostalgia, yet his stance does reflect what is happening to a more commercialized version of the sound he loves. As a vocalist, his pipes bear strong resemblance to Little Milton, and to a certain extent, Bobby "Blue" Bland, while he's happy to work with a horn section and backup vocalists. McClain also wrote or co-wrote (some with wife Sandra) all of these songs with a look at retained or lost love, the basis of most blues. The self-proclaimed Funky Divas of Gospel join in for the slow, solicitous "Never Go Away" and Jesus rocker "Be Ready," but for the most part, this is good-time party music. Only the shuffle boogie "What You Want Me to Do?" in a typical Milton/Bland context, or the definitive "My Love Will Never Die," with the sax and brass sextet roaring in approval, veer away from the solid backbeat that comprises most of this album. McClain even tosses in rapper Jesse D. Lanoo, but he's hardly noticed. Fans of Sam McClain will attest to his mighty wisdom and awesome powers in the contemporary blues mode, and this recording will do nothing to convince them to the contrary. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: April, 1943 in Monroe, LA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Vocalist Mighty Sam McClain is a specialist in Southern soul-blues, one of the original masters from the 1960s, when the music enjoyed its peak popularity. He carries on the tradition of vocalists like Bobby Bland, Solomon Burke, Otis Clay, James Carr, and Otis Redding. His excellent '90s recordings are now widely available, but that wasn't always the case. Like so many other soul-blues vocalists, McClain began singing gospel in his mother's choir when he was five. At 13, owing to disagreements with...
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Betcha Didn't Know, Mighty Sam McClain
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