Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Trying to Make a Living Playing My Guitar

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Trying to Make a Living Playing My Guitar

Article excerpt

Sam Cockrell


Main band personnel: Sam Cockrell (vcl, el-b) Daniel Tabion (keys) Dave Berger (g) Brian McGrew (d) Brian Crane (tp) Jim Metz (sax) Will Baker (tb). Recorded Chicago and Joliet, IL, 2015

I'm From Chicago/You Can Have It All If You Play The Game/Last Night/I've Got To Make Some Changes/Trying To Make A Living Playing My Guitar/Life Can Be Complicated/You're A Sellout/Blindsided By Love/This Ain't Another Baby I Love You Song/Playing With My Friends/She's Hot. TT 55.28

While my main passion is jazz, I also enjoy some good blues, especially as I live close to Chicago, where blues is part of the city's musical heritage. In the first half of the twentieth century during the Great Migration, many southern blues musicians moved into the industrial cities of the northern United States such as Chicago, and a new style of the music was born, "Chicago Blues." Blues music tends to tell a story, and Sam Cockrell is a wonderful storyteller; telling his tales through down-to earth lyrics that are fundamental to most of his compositions.

Sam, a Chicago-native, wrote, produced and arranged all the material on this album, having previously issued a couple of blues albums in 1999 and 2001. After which he took a sabbatical from recording under his own name to play with a variety of Chicago-based bands. After his fifteen year hiatus, he is back on the recording scene with a vengeance. His new CD on the Teletone label, "Trying to Make a Living Playing My Guitar" features a group of Chicago musicians who really know how to get into a funk-laden blues groove. They should, as the personnel includes all of the members of Cockrell's working band, plus a few guest bluesman.

Within the first few notes of the aptly named I'm from Chicago, you know that you are going to enjoy this recording.. .it's 100% pure Chicago Blues magic with extremely clever lyrics throughout. The horns lay down some quality backing while the guitars and organ weave in and out to give Sam's vocal a musical canvas to paint on. Listen to the lyrics and you can tell that Sam is very proud of his home town. You Can Have It All If You Play the Game is five minutes and thirty six seconds of pure vocal bliss. The horns again do a nice backing job and the guitars together with Dan Tabion's organ also make this one a real barnstormer. …

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