Mighty Sam McCLAIN – Soul Survivor 1999

Mighty Sam McCLAIN – Soul Survivor 1999


Soul Survivor compiles the best material from Mighty Sam McClain’s four Audioquest releases, all recorded during the 1990s.
As much a soul singer as a bluesman, Sam McClain writes songs that are emotional and very personal. McClain has a powerful voice not unlike Otis Redding’s or Bobby “Blue” Bland’s. The strongest material here is on the second half of the 13-track CD, including the organ-propelled “What You Want Me To Do,” the fast-paced and previously unreleased “I’m Gonna Love You,” and the soul-blues tune “When The Hurt Is Over.”
The title Soul Survivor befits the 58-year-old McClain, who has certainly earned the right to sing the blues. Kicked out of his Monroe, Louisiana, home by a jealous stepfather when he was 13, young Sam hooked up with a local R&B band before earning his big break, a recording session produced by a Florida deejay. That session spawned the vocalist’s only hit, a gospel-inflected version of Patsy Cline’s “Sweet Dreams.” Unfortunately the singer’s career quickly fizzled, and he was forced to clean floors in Memphis, sell his blood in New Orleans, and live on the streets. After recovering from alcoholism, McClain was re-discovered in New Orleans, where he recorded two albums for the Orleans label before moving on to Audioquest.
McClain is supported here by sophisticated horns, Bruce Katz’s versatile B-3 and piano stylings, Kevin Barry’s hot guitar, and a tasteful rhythm section. Sam McClain has recently found religion, and though his lyrics reflect his faith, they are seldom preachy. Besides his religious beliefs, McClain sings passionately about love and survival.
By Ed Kopp. AAJ.
Mighty Sam McClain will probably take off as a result of his New Man in Town single being featured as the new Billy theme song on Ally McBeal, but he truly deserves success based on the merits of all his songs. He has a deep, rich, soul-inspired voice, backed by skilled blues musicians. Give It Up To Love has got to be one of the greatest ballads ever sung – Sam’s voice conveys tremendous, real emotion, not the Michael Bolton-style of fake emotion. I used this song on this album to demo stereos recently (this song in particular is exceptionally good for equipment demos) and several people in the stereo stores came up to ask to whom I was listening, including a ditzy little teen who seemed like she would be more of a Backstreet Boys or Ricky Martin fan. If you like this greatest hits collection, buy McClain’s other albums as well – they are as solid from first song to last as this best of album.
Bruce Katz- (Piano, Keyboards,Organ),
Kevin Barry- (Guitar, Slide Guitar),
Paul Bryan- (Bass),
Joe Casano- (Trumpet),
Lorne Entress- (Drums),
Ole Mathisen- (Tenor Sax),
Mighty Sam McClain- (Vocals),
Walter Platt- (Trumpet),
Michael Rivard- (Bass),
Ken Wenzel- (Trombone),
Ted “Teddy B” Bukowski- (Bass),
Zac Casher- (Drums),
Ted Decola- (Tenor Sax),
Peter Giftos- (Guitar),
Tim Ingles- (Bass),
Dave Limina- (Keyboards),
Julien Kasper- (Guitar).
01. Too Proud  (4:36)
02. Can You Stand the Test of Love  (5:05)
03. Who Made You Cry?  (5:49)
04. New Man in Town  (5:42)
05. What Do You Want Me to Do?  (4:50)
06. Where You Been So Long?  (5:58)
07. Honey Chile  (4:47)
08. Here I Go Falling in Love Again  (4:53)
09. Lord Will Make a Way  (4:48)
10. Hanging on the Cross (Between Heaven and the Blues)  (5:47)
11. I’m Gonna Love You  (4:14)
12. When the Hurt Is Over (Maybe Love Will Flow)  (8:03)
13. Give It Up to Love  (4:25)

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