Mighty Sam McClain - Time and Change (Last Recordings) (2016)

Mighty Sam McClain
mighty_sam_mcclain_time_and_change.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

An obituary of the Mighty Sam McClain that ran in the Boston Globe noted that the blues and southern soul singer bid farewell to plenty of things before he managed to achieve ritical and commercial success late in life. McClain’s first separation came when he moved away from an abusive home life in Monroe, LA. at the age of 13. Eventually, McClain left his native region, the place where he got his start in the music business, and relocated to New Hampshire. That Globe obit attests to the fact that move was key to the success that McClain achieved later in life.

Prior to his move to New Hampshire, McClain tasted some popular success in the 1960s, but that success was followed by years of struggle that saw him landing the occasional gig but more often doing menial jobs between instances of homelessness.

An obituary of the Mighty Sam McClain that ran in the Boston Globe noted that the blues and southern soul singer bid farewell to plenty of things before he managed to achieve ritical and commercial success late in life. McClain’s first separation came when he moved away from an abusive home life in Monroe, LA. at the age of 13. Eventually, McClain left his native region, the place where he got his start in the music business, and relocated to New Hampshire. That Globe obit attests to the fact that move was key to the success that McClain achieved later in life.

Prior to his move to New Hampshire, McClain tasted some popular success in the 1960s, but that success was followed by years of struggle that saw him landing the occasional gig but more often doing menial jobs between instances of homelessness.

So McClain had a career and life story that lent itself to singing the blues, and while tales of woe were a part of his repertoire, McClain was as likely to sing a gospel tune, a love song or an inspirational number. Listeners will hear all of those aspects on Time and Change (Last Recordings), a project that, as the title states, is Sam McClain’s last known recording.

McClain wrote 10 of the 11 tracks in cooperation with his longtime collaborator Pat Herlehy, with one being written by friend and mentor Melvin Underwood.

McClain fans know that the artist suffered a stroke a few months prior to his death, but listeners will hear no evidence of health issues in the vocals on Time and Change. He launched into a throaty growl at the end of “Here I Come Again,” and he showcased the ability to match energy that comes with a fusion of southern soul and contemporary R&B arrangements in the inspirational “Praise.”

Tracks such as “Praise,” the title track and “You Worry Me” locate McClain where he stood as an artist throughout his long career – right at the intersection of sacred, inspirational and secular. While other genres strayed far away from that spot and are just now wondering back, the blues and southern soul that Sam McClain represented so ably always occupied that spot. With Time and Change, music fans get a gift one last opportunity to hear music from this late blooming soul master, and it is a worthy coda to the career of “Mighty” Sam McClain. Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
Album of the Month - Juewett Bostick - Shades of Blu
Choice Cut - Kea Michaels - "Not My Friend"
Song of the Month - Bryan Andrew Wilson - "Only You'

Leave a comment!