Although singer/guitarist Magic Sam learned from the Chicago blues greats, his 1967 debut album, WEST SIDE SOUL, pretty much marks the dividing line between the classic Chicago style and what we know as contemporary electric blues today. His serpentine, tremolo-laden guitar style, somewhat akin to what his Cobra labelmate Otis Rush was doing around the same time, represented a new step in blues guitar and proved highly influential. The album is also remarkable for promulgating the merger between blues and soul that was still a new idea at the time.
Rolling Stone (9/28/68, p.28) - "...Sam's music represents the interaction of Memphis soul, gospel-influenced Detroit pop-soul, and the standard Mississippi-cum Chicago scheme....He is an expert song stylist; his voice is capable of changing form in mid-note--like B.B. King when he's really got it on..."
Down Beat (p.56) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his monument of Chicago blues finds Sam grounding his thrillingly high singing and his cataclysmic guitar riffs in life experiences..."
Down Beat (11/91) - 5 Stars - Excellent - "..his vibrant singing and rollicking boogie guitar made converts among rock fans..."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.92) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Throughout, Sam mixes the clarity of BB KINg with the aggression of Buddy Guy and some of the loose funk of Albert King."