I just discovered Ironing Board Sam via this amazing 1960s live music program, Night Train, produced and filmed in Nashville, TN, that featured all kinds of great talent. This episode, done in my birthday year, 1965 (yes, I’m turning 50), features one of the first recordings of Jimi Hendrix playing back up in this performance by Ironing Board Sam, which really got my booty shakin’. I recognized the song, Sticks and Stones, but not the artist. So classic for this period where black artists who were routinely screwed were also often forgotten. As the clip conveys, he got his nickname from his electric keyboard, which he built from an ironing board. It has this squashed organ-like drone, which you still can hear under the shit recording. Its a rollicking ride.
So that led to me this short documentary, where I discovered he’s not only still alive and kickin’, but just produced a new record with two avid young musician fans, white boys, AKA “the sticks” (attached within link via soundcloud). As in Ironing Board Sam & the Sticks. Yes, pretty fucking funny name. Also awkward. Let’s just hope he gets paid. We can all help by listening and coughing up, ourselves. I’m just as guilty as anyone else. How do you refuse free? Its hard. I felt guilty for watching the doc on vimeo. We can all do better, esp. those of us who empathize. Am I right?
Regardless, I’m smitten with Ironing Board Sam’s electrifying gritty sound. Makes me wanna bounce! I so wish I could’ve lived in the era when people went out to dance practiced styles. I’ve often fantasized about being a professional dancer, the love of, along with singing, coming from my dad. He taught me the box step when I was about 5. My little feet placed on top of his as we moved across a sea of oriental rug. How cute is that? My daddy was the swinging-ist.