Blues Drummer Sam Lay Has Died

A true great of American music...

Blues drummer Sam Lay has died.

The drummer was born in Birmingham, Alabama before being drawn to the music scene in Ohio during the '50s.

Drifting North, he was pulled in by the magnetic force of Chicago, working first with Little Walter before establishing a lengthy relationship alongside Howlin' Wolf.

With his classy touches and innate sense of groove, Sam Lay proved to be the perfect foil for Howlin' Wolf, and the pair cut numerous seminal blues tracks: 'Little Red Rooster', 'I Ain't Superstitious', and the immortal 'Killing Floor' amongst others.

Sam Lay then took part in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and was behind the drums when Bob Dylan shocked the folk world by turning electric at Newport Folk Festival 1965.

Later becoming a band leader in his own right, Sam Lay recorded numerous albums for Alligator Records, acting as a living link between different generations of blues artists.

Alligator confirmed news of Sam Lay's death; he died on January 29th, and had been experiencing heart problems for some time.

Clash spoke to Sam Lay back in 2011, musing on the history of the blues and his key role in forging it – re-visit that Q&A HERE.

Rest in power, Sam Lay.

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