Customer Help


Sam Lay biography

Sam Lay – Born: March 20, 1935, Birmingham, Alabama

Sam Lay is the quintessential blues drummer, and was a major figure on the Chicago blues scene in the 1960’s. He played for years with legend Howlin’ Wolf, and throughout his career has backed many other blues greats, including Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and Willie Dixon. He eventually was hired away from Howlin’ Wolf by the legendary Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Lay was part of Butterfield’s band when they backed Bob Dylan at his infamous premier electric performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. He has played on many classic albums, including the 1965 release Paul Butterfield Blues Band, that significantly impacted the 1960s blues revival; Muddy Waters’s Fathers and Sons; and Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited. Lay is famous for the “double shuffle” beat, which, like Bo Diddley’s famous rock beat, was originally inspired by the clapping rhythms of gospel congregations. Lay has been nominated for several W.C. Handy awards.

Sam Lay on Record

Essential listening: “I’m Ready,” “Standing Around Crying” (from Fathers and Sons, Chess); “Blues With a Feeling,” “I Got My Mojo Working,” “Shake Your Money Maker” (from Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Elektra)

  Sam Lay