When u Need a Friend
Sam Joyner Music
Sam Joyner was born and raised in Chicago. His father, the Reverend Joyner, made sure that Sam spent his summers down South. So Joyner’s original music is a combination of urban Chicago blues and Louisiana styled R n’ B. Internationally known he spent twenty-three years touring the Pacific Islands and Asia. Today he spends much of his time playing both “Spirits On Bourbon” in New Orleans and “Teddy’s Juke Joint” in Zachary not far from Baton Rouge.
In 2016 Joyner was the winner of the Solo/Duo competition at the Vicksburg (Ms.) Blues Challenge. He went onto compete in the 2017 International Blues Challenge where he was a finalist. He was further honored with a track on the Blues Foundation’s IBC #33, a limited edition commemorative cd documenting the competition. “When u Need a Friend”, produced and recorded by Joyner, was originally released in 2019.
Over the years Joyner has played with Larry Garner, members of The Neal Family, and Benny Turner; and many of his old friends participated in the making of this album. Nine of the ten songs are originals written by Joyner. Joyner opens with “Must Be Jelly (Cause Jam don’t shake like that)” based on a popular slang phrase. A different song with the same title was used by Glenn Miller in 1942, Woody Herman in 1944, and William Clarke in 1990. Regardless this is a great song. Accompanying keyboardist Joyner is Mr. Kool on guitar; bassist Miguel Hernandez; Kevin Hayes, keyboard and string/horn arrangements; Benny Turner’s longtime drummer Jeffrey “Jellybean” Alexander; and background vocalists Sueann Carwell, and Karin Danger.
Adapted by Joyner “Hard 4 Tha Money” was originally written by reggae star Frankie Paul and titled “Work Hard”; featured again are the rhythm section of Hernandez and Alexander. On both “Hard 4” and “Breaking Up Our Happy Home” the featured guitarist is Raful Neal III a.k.a. Lil Ray Neal, the third eldest of ten Neal siblings and brother to Kenny. Also featured on the latter is Gralin Hoffman Neal on drums.
On “Goin’ To Chicago” the featured guitarists are Seizo and Harry Sterling. On “Nothin u can Do about Luv” the guitarist is Dan Aguilar while Mayumi Shara, who worked with Cyril Neville, sits in on drums. Marc Stone plays slide on the title track, “When u Need a Friend”, with Keiko Komaki, organ; Hernandez, bass; Alexander, drums, and Sueann Carwell, backing vocal, while pianist Joyner sings “I’m gonna be right there”.
Benny Turner plays bass on both “Sam Joyner in tha House” and my favorite “Onions Ain’t the Only Thing (That will make u cry)” the latter with Joyner’s regular guitarist SunDanze. Bassist Spencer Williams also from Joyner’s band joins Alexander on “Them Bluez”.
The times we are livin’ in makes it difficult for Joyner to perform or record. Hopefully we will hear more from him soon.