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Sam Carr – Blues Highlight of The Week

Sam Carr – Pounding the Drums

Sam Carr, is renowned as one of the great blues drummers. Widely respected for what he could do with one snare drum, one bass drum, and one high-hat cymbal. Carr was the biological child of Robert Nighthawk, a noted blues musician. Nighthawk played with the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson and Big Joe Williams and known for his slide guitar playing. Although Sam Carr was adopted by a different family and raised in Mississippi. He returns to Arkansas at the age of 16, where he’d join up with his father and play bass with him. 

Moving To St Louis

Finding some trouble in Arkansas, Carr and his wife Doris relocated to St. Louis where he entered the blues scene. He started playing bass guitar with blues harmonica musician Tree Top Slim. Carr decided to strike it out with his own band, Little Sam Carr and the Blue Kings. In the midst of running this group, Carr made the decision to switch instruments and try out the drums.  Furthermore, after linking up with harmonica player and guitarist Frank Frost, Carr and his wife move to Mississippi. Finally, things start looking up for Carr.

The Formation of The Jelly Roll Kings

Carr and Frost would have the good fortune of meeting guitarist Big Jack Johnson. Next, the three would form the group the Jelly Roll Kings. Furthermore, Carr performed with the Jelly Roll Kings, as well as earning income as a tractor driver.

If you’ve heard the soundtrack to the 1986 film “Crossroads”, Carr playing with Frost and the great Ry Cooder. In the meantime, the Jelly Roll Kings continued to produce blues music sporadically throughout the 1980’s and ‘90s.

Sam Carr Finds Success

Carr kept himself busy performing the blues. As a drummer, he collaborated with a set of top-notch artists along the way.  These artists included Sonny Boy Williamson II, Buddy Guy, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Robert Walker, and T-Model Ford. And in the 2000’s, Carr ran his own band, the “Delta Jukes”, which produced several recordings. And in 2007, Carr was the recipient of a Heritage Award from Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi, at the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts.

After a successful and productive career in the blues, garnering acclaim as one of the best blues drummers out there, Sam Carr passed away at the age of 83. In the case of Sam Carr’s minimalist blues drumming, less was much more indeed.

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