Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sammy Grames Band on Carter

Sammy Grames Band
Carter 4575
CP-1361 – Strange Woman
CP-1362 - Don't Want To Lose Your Love

Pianist/vocalist/bandleader Sammy Grimes was born in St. Louis, and began playing piano at the age of four – inspired by his father Fred Grimes Sr. , who played guitar, harp, violin and piano. A friend of both Roosevelt Sykes and Walter Davis, Sammy formed his own band in the early 1950’s following a short stint with the Ernest Jones band. However, it was not the blues of Sykes and Davis that the Grimes band was modelled on, but rather the big band style of Buddy Johnson.

« We played all over St. Louis, the Moonlight, the Riviera, the Levee on 4th and Carr - -- jumpin’ place, we played there for a long time – and the Dugout on Olive. I also played at the Regal Theatre on Eastern for Bo Diddley and Mickey and Sylvia. We used to have stage shows that were booked in there and we were considered a house band for them. Dave Dixon would broadcast about me, ‘my man Sam Grimes’, he gave me a whole lot of publicity. (Dixon) would always call me for the shows he promoted. »

Sammy’s first 45’s appeared on Carter Records being issued as the Sammy Grames Band. Grimes tried without success to shop the record in Chicago – both United and Chess turned it down. His next sides « Deep In My Heart »/ »Yes I Love You » (Carter 5618), featuring vocals by Floyd Alexander, were disappointing. The disc was issued as being by the "Sonny Grim Combo».

Sammy and his vocalist Vicky recorded four titles for Bill Stevens, owner of Stevens Records at Premier Studios on May 10 1959, including a Vicky-led reworking of « Don’t Want To Lose Your Love », « Falling for You » and a brace of uptempo instrumental workouts for the band – which, at Bill Stevens’ suggestion, was augmented by Chuck Wheeler on guitar for this session – completed the quartet. At the time, nothing from the session was released.

Source : Bill Greensmith, liner notes, East St. Louis – The Stevens Sessions, CD Sequel Records, 1997.

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