Mighty Sam McClain – Diamond In The Rough
11 songs time-52:54
Popular soul-blues singer Mighty Sam McClain who passed away in 2015 left this stripped down acoustic record as his final release. After a career of many years backed by bands he left this touching and different memento. Co-producer Pat Herlehy the sole accompanist provides mainly acoustic guitar along with occasional saxophone and flute, with the only other instrument being Sam’s smooth, moving and soulful voice. For the first time with this set up everything gels just fine. All compositions are originals by Sam, Pat Herlehy with assistance from Charles Neville and a few others.
As on most songs here Pat dubs a lead guitar part over a rhythm guitar part for a fuller sound, as heard on “My Everything”. Sam’s rich and hearty voice fits like a glove on this uplifting tune. The pleading vocal in “When The Hurt Is Over” talks about reigniting love. Pat adds jazzy sax to his guitar on the funky “Grooving”. His sax also makes an appearance on the yearning “Love’s Gonna Find”. “Where Is The Love?” eloquently speaks to universal brotherly love set against jazzy guitar.
The guitar sets the mood for the blues of “Love Me If You Want To”. A lovely jazzy guitar riff envelopes “Everytime”, a tale of lost love. “Believe” is a plea for peace among people. It features Pat’s light touch on jazz flute. “Southern Land” is what it sounds like, a lament about the south. A way funky guitar riff underlies the spirituality of “Holy Ghost Fever”. Sam makes references to blues greats from the past.
Sam made a good choice in using this approach as it’s laid back quality has a soothing affect on one’s psyche. Pat Herlehy’s deft touch on guitar, sax and flute along with his co-production skills render this a very satisfying listen. Long time fans of Mighty Sam McClain as well as music lovers unfamiliar with his catalog will find much to savor here.