Sam Baylor

Born: Mobile, AL


Gawk (Mustang) 1987

Will and the Bushmen (SBK) 1989

Formed in Mobile, Alabama, but later based in Nashville, this nifty pop quartet did two inspired things on its first album: write a tributary bio-song entitled "Neil Young" (they had already eulogized Alex Chilton on a pre-LP B-side) and get Mississippi's Tim Lee and Randy Everett to co-produce three tracks. Otherwise, the modest Gawk — in the Windbreakers' style, but not as moody or as instrumentally accomplished — merely has great tunes, excellent harmony vocals (by guitarists/songwriters Will Kimbrough and Sam Baylor) and a solid dollop of the innocent spunk that greases the wheels of young talent.

Although there's nothing wrong with Will and the Bushmen, there's nothing really right about the band's major-league debut, either. Most noticeable on remakes of the three best songs from Gawk, producer Richard Gottehrer fits the group's music into the tasteful kind of arrangement that — like a tomboy in her first dress — gently discourages youthful ebullience.

[Ira Robbins]

House of mirrors / Book of love / Typical world / Blow me up / 500 miles / Kimberly stews / Three girls from Detroit / Doubts / It's gonna be alright / Like laughing

Produced by Richard Gottehrer

Will Kimbrough-Vocals, guitar, keyboards / Sam Baylor-Guitar, bass, vocals / Mark Pfaff-Bass, harmonica, vocals / Bryan Owings-Drums

Sam Baylor
Life On Trouble Street (New Boss)
True to the titular address, this ain’t Primrose Lane. Those populating Sam Baylor’s songs are a struggling lot, unlucky in love and anything else that requires one to stick around. (“If you want to see me Monday, take a snapshot on Sunday,” he offers on “Free Advice”.) In fact, when Baylor — best-known for his days alongside Will Kimbrough in Will & the Bushmen — sings “How could I go so wrong?” on the brilliantly titled “How To Flog A Butterfly”, he could be speaking for the majority of his pessimistic protagonists. The musical backdrop manages to fit (or, more often, lift) the songs’ moods, be they dark, darker, or darkest. Granted, the proceedings are low on flash, with the requisite air-raid guitars on an album-closing cover of the Eddy Grant-written and Clash-claimed “Police On My Back” as wild as things get. But this solo debut, guitar-driven and confident in its hooks and trouble-street smarts, is full of first-class hard pop and hardy rock.
By Rick Cornell




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