b. c.1919, Opelousas, Louisiana, USA, d. November 1995. A pioneer of the Creole accordion, Ambrose Sam was a contemporary of zydeco legends Clifton Chenier and Wilson ‘Boozoo’ Chavis. His father was an accomplished accordion player, as was his brother, Herbert Sam, who enjoyed a brief solo career with Arhoolie Records in the early 60s. During the war years he was employed in a bomb factory while continuing to play at local dances in Lake Charles, Louisiana. It was Ambrose Sam who was the first to export the zydeco sound to America’s west coast, and he also claimed to have been the original writer of Chavis’ hit record, ‘Paper In My Shoe’. Eventually, he returned to Opelousas in the 70s to help on his father’s farm. In the early 80s he made his first recordings. Six songs credited to Ambrose Sam’s Old Time Zydeco were included as one side of Arhoolie’s Zydeco, Volume 2 compilation. This saw him paired with members of his extended family (who themselves worked as the Sam Brothers Five).
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