By Fred Mills
Sam “The Bluzman” Taylor,
74, died Monday, Jan. 5, at his Islandia, NY, home, from complications related
to heart disease. The popular guitarist/singer had been performing since the
‘50s, working with some of the greats including Otis Redding, the Isley
Brothers, Sam & Dave and B.T. Express (the latter for whom he served in a
production and arranging capacity.
Ironically, though, it wasn’t until 1995 that he released a
quote/unquote straight blues album; Bluzman was followed by a steady string of critically hailed records, including his
final album, 2006’s The Funky Side of
Fame. Taylor was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1995 and was also
a member of both the Long Island Music Hall of Fame and the Arizona Blues Hall
of Fame – he lived in Tucson for an extended period from the mid ‘80s to the
mid ‘90s and was a familiar fixture on the club scene there.
Yours truly, in fact, saw him perform on a number of
occasions during my own decade-long tenure in Tucson. You could spot him a mile away, perennially
sporting a huge smile under one of his trademark captain’s caps.
There’s an excellent profile and remembrance of Tucson at the Arizona Daily Star currently on line. In
the article, KXCI-FM blues DJ Marty Kool is quoted as saying, of Taylor, “Sam was dripping
with soul. When he sang, he put everything he had into it. You could hear it in
his songs. Not many people could sing like Sam Taylor, with that kind of
Amen to that.
BLURT contributor Rev. Keith Gordon also has a nice tribute to
to his blog at the About.com Guide to the Blues.