Sammy Lowe had his heart set on playing professional baseball but music became his favorite past time and his ticket to the music major league.

One of Birmingham, Alabama's most prolific arrangers, Sammy was the chief arranger and composer for the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra for nearly 22 years. His list of monster hits with the band include, “Bearmash Blues,” “Nona,” “No Soap,” “Midnight Stroll,” “Bicycle Bounce” and “Raid the Joint.”

His arrangement of “I've Got a Right to Cry” for Birmingham vocalist Laura Washington soared on the national charts in 1946. Sammy's big band swing days included gigs with bandleaders Cab Calloway, Lucky Millinder, Sammy Davis, Jr., Sy Oliver and Don Redman. His rock-n-roll days were spent arranging for The Platters (”My Prayer”), Al Hirt, Sam Cooke, The Isley Brothers, The Tokens, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown and many others.

Al Hirt called Sammy the “best arranger in the business.” Sammy arranged James Brown's 1966 million seller record single, “It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World.” His other million-seller single recordings include The Tokens' “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” Sylvia's “Pillow Talk,” Roy Hamilton's “You Can Have Her” and the Moment's “Sexy Mama.”

Below is an example of Sammy Lowe's conducting and arranging on Verve Records, as follows:

Pat Thomas with Sammy Lowe Orchestra

Taft Jordan, Joe Wilder, Snooky Young (trumpets) / Johnny Hodges (alto sax) / Hank Jones (piano) / Everett Barksdale (guitar) / Lloyd Trotman (bass) / Panama Francis (drums) / Pat Thomas (vocal) / Sammy Lowe (arranger, conductor) / unidentified strings

NYC, August 14, 1962

62VK585 Try a Little Tenderness Verve unissued

62VK586 All About Ronnie -

62VK587 Love on a Rainbow -


Sammy Lowe was one of the Charter members of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1978.




Sammy Lowe (May 14, 1918, Birmingham, Alabama - February 17, 1993, Birmingham) was an American trumpeter, arranger, and conductor.

Lowe was active both in jazz and in R&B music, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s. From the 1930's to the late '50's, he arranged music and played trumpet for the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra. He is present on many recordings of Erskine. He also recorded with alto saxophonist Bobby Smith and made arrangements for Dud Bascomb. From the late '50's until his semi-retirement in 1990, he arranged music for Nina Simone (1967), Al Hirt, Benny Goodman, Connie Francis, Sam Cooke, The Softones, The Tokens, The Platters, Brook Benton, Sylvia, Ray, Goodman & Brown, Cameo, Little Peggy March, Della Reese, Panama Francis and Pat Thomas among others. He is perhaps best known for being one of James Brown's arrangers, including on the hits "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" and "Prisoner of Love".

Lowe was one of the first inductees to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.


The Other Side of the Moments (With Sammy Lowe), The MomentsTuxedo Junction (Remastered), Erskine Hawkins and His OrchestraComplete Jazz Series 1941 - 1945, Erskine HawkinsComplete Jazz Series 1950 - 1951, Erskine HawkinsComplete Jazz Series 1947 - 1949, Erskine Hawkins20 All Time Greatest Hits!, James Brown

Listen: The Moments - Download The Moments Music on iTunes

Listen: Erskine Hawkins - Download Erskine Hawkins Music on iTunes

Listen: Erskine Hawkins: Songs, Albums, Pictures, Bios

Listen: James Brown - Download James Brown Music on iTunes

Listen: It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World: James Brown: MP3 Downloads






Subscribe to Newsletter

Rick Carter Radio - All Alabama Music

Accepting submissions and adding them daily. Artists can send their songs in MP3's to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. One song per email. Graphics and song and artist info should be included of course.

This space
for rent!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.