“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Grenada in Grenada County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)

Magic Sam

Magic Sam Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, May 23, 2021
1. Magic Sam Marker
Inscription.  Magic Sam (Samuel Maghett) was one of the most dynamic and gifted blues musicians during his short lifetime (1937-1969). Born few miles northeast of this site, Maghett began his performing career in Grenada and lived in this house until he moved to Chicago in the early 1950s, The youthful energy and spirit of Magic Sam, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and Freddie King modernized Chicago blues into an explosive, electrifying new style in the late 1950s and early '60s.

Magic Sam, unlike most of his blues contemporaries, was born and raised in a community where fiddle music, hoedowns and square dances held sway over the blues among the African American population. Roy Moses, a renowned black fiddler in Grenada County, was not only the leading caller of steps at such dances, but also a mentor and inspiration to younger local musicians. Samuel Maghett carried these musical influences with him to Chicago in 1950. Blues guitarist Syl Johnson, who later became a nationally known soul singer, recalled that Sam was playing “a hillbilly style” at the time, and Johnson began teaching him blues and boogies. Sam developed a house-rocking blues

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style unparalleled in its rhythmic drive; it may well have had roots in the dance tempos of the reels and breakdowns he learned in Grenada.

Magic Sam was better known, however, for the heartfelt vocals and stinging guitar work of his 1957-58 blues recordings produced by Willie Dixon for the Cobra label in Chicago such as “All Your Love” and “Easy Baby,” some of which featured another Grenada native, Billy Stepney, on drums. Sam’s singing reflected another early influence, that of the church. During the ‘50s he often returned to visit and perform in Grenada, where he was credited with helping to popularize the blues. Sam and his combo won a local talent contest at the Union Theater which enabled them to compete on a show in Memphis promoted by WDIA radio. After performing under several stage names, he settled on “Magic” Sam–to rhyme with his surname.

In Chicago, Sam was at the vanguard of a new West Side blues movement. He remained a popular nightclub act during the 1960s and was poised to take his career to a new level, after recording two acclaimed albums for Delmark Records and turning in legendary festival performances in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and in Europe, but he died of a heart attack on December 1, 1969. His music has continued to influence generations of blues, R&B, and rock musicians. Magic Sam’s birthplace now lies submerged beneath Grenada Lake. The Redgrass

Magic Sam Marker (reverse) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, May 23, 2021
2. Magic Sam Marker (reverse)
and Hendersonville communities where he spent his earliest years, along with the former town of Graysport, were flooded in the late 1940s to create the lake as a flood control reservoir. The Maghett family relocated here to the Knoxville community, where Sam resided until he was thirteen. Maggitt Street, just south of this site, represents one of many local variations of the family surname.
Erected 2007 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 17.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail series list. A significant historical date for this entry is December 1, 1969.
Location. 33° 46.407′ N, 89° 43.391′ W. Marker is in Grenada, Mississippi, in Grenada County. Marker is on Holmes Drive, 0.2 miles north of State Route 8, on the left when traveling north. Take the Holmes Drive to the right from Highway 8. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Grenada MS 38901, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Confederate Fort (approx. 2.8 miles away); Grenada Dam (approx. 3.6 miles away); J. Augustine Signaigo (approx. 4.2 miles away); Grenada Depot (approx. 4.3 miles away); Grenada County Confederate Monument
Closeup of photos & captions on reverse side. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, May 23, 2021
3. Closeup of photos & captions on reverse side.
(approx. 4.6 miles away); a different marker also named J. Augustine Signaigo (approx. 4.6 miles away); Edward C. Walthall (approx. 4.6 miles away); Grenada Blues (approx. 4.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Grenada.
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on Magic Sam. (Submitted on May 28, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Magic Sam Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, May 23, 2021
4. Magic Sam Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on May 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 28, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 205 times since then and 98 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 28, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Oct. 3, 2023