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Blues drummer Sam Carr dies at 83

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (CP) – 5 hours ago

Blues drummer Sam Carr
Sam Carr with Arthur Williams
On the Juke Joint Journey
JACKSON, Miss. — Sam Carr, a drummer who was considered an anchor in the blues scene that continues to draw fans to the poverty-stricken Delta region where the music form was born, died Monday. He was 83.

Carr died of congestive heart failure, said John Andrews, director of Century Funeral Home in Clarksdale. Carr had a reputation as one of the best blues drummers in the country, but he made his living in the Mississippi Delta where he was raised.

At one time or another, Carr had backed big names like Sonny Boy Williamson II and Buddy Guy. Carr had received multiple honours, including the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2007. He also received several awards from Living Blues magazine. Carr's father was 1930s blues guitarist and vocalist Robert Nighthawk who made famous the song, "Sweet Black Angel." Early in his career Carr often played with father.

Carr was born Samuel Lee McCollum in 1926 near Marvell, Arkansas. His name was changed after he was adopted as a toddler by a Mississippi family with a farm near Dundee, according to a biography written by Scott Barretta, a blues professor at the University of Mississippi.

He moved back to Arkansas at age 16 and collected money at door of clubs where his father performed.
He worked as a sharecropper before turning his full attention to blues music, moving to St. Louis and playing bass with harmonica player Tree Top Slim. He returned to Mississippi in the early 1960s and formed the Jellyroll Kings.

Services for Carr will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home chapel in Clarksdale, burial will follow in Thompson Chapel Cemetery in Dundee.


Publisher's note: On the Juke Joint Journey, we had the pleasure of visiting Sam on his farm and spending some time just hanging out together. Arthur Williams and Sam shared a lot of history, and we were just happy to have that 'Blues Moment' with them both. Missed by many, may Sam's music be eternal.

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