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One String Sam

Not much is well known approximately One String Sam, an eccentric road musician who walked into Joe’s Record Store on Hastings Road in Detroit in 1956 and recorded two odd and unforgettable monitors, “I WANT one hundred dollars” and “My Baby Ooo,” on the fretless, one- string instrument which was essentially a diddley bow, comprising a hardwood plank using a piano cable stretched between two fingernails, augmented with a power electric guitar pickup. Sam, whose true name was Sam Wilson, fretted the device using a baby meals jar and, putting the jar close to the vocal mike when he sang, made his personal echo chamber. The effect was an eerie, spooky, and riveting edition of nation blues. Sam performed on the roads in Detroit for a couple years, but ultimately vanished. He was relocated in close by Inkster in 1973 and put into the roster from the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Event that yr, where he performed “I WANT one hundred dollars” and “I got eventually to Proceed” before vanishing once more into blues background. His entire documented output includes the two edges documented in 1956, in addition to the two paths recorded in the 1973 event in Ann Arbor. The Hastings Road paths (that have been originally released on JVB Information) are available on Document’s Rural Blues, Vol. 1, as the event paths are on Engine Town Blues, released in 1998 by Total Energy Information.

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