Sam Brothers

SAM (Get Down!)

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From Louisiana, this African-American group ranged in age from 17 to 11 at the time of this 1979 recording, with father Herbert Sam adding vocal and accordion on a couple of tracks. The cover of this album gets your hopes up for some kind of cool hybrid between zydeco and soul, as visually this five-brother band does indeed resemble the Jackson 5 gone zydeco. However, the touches of funk and soul are fairly mild on what's for the most part a competent, straightforward, yet unremarkable zydeco set. Leon Sam seems to be the group's figurehead, singing in a husky voice that could belong to a man quite a few years his senior and writing most of the material, though Herbert Sam wrote the tracks on which he appeared, and there are also a couple of Clifton Chenier covers. There are touches of blues and soul, but these are only touches to a good-time, commonplace assortment of zydeco tunes. With one exception, that is -- the opener, "SAM (Get Down)," is very much '70s dance soul-funk with some similarity to Chic's "Le Freak," indicating that perhaps the brothers varied their sound and repertoire according to the circumstances in which they were performing.

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