Sam Mitchell (3)
Sam Mitchell (3)
Born: 1950, Liverpool, England
Died: June 15th., 2006, Liverpool. England
Sam Mitchell grew up in Liverpool in the fifties. His father was a professional (Hawaiian/Jazz) guitarist and member of the 'Felix Mendelssohn's Hawaiian Serenaders', where he played a steel-guitar. Sam Mitchell himself became known as one of England's finest slide-guitarist and his slide playing has appeared on numerous albums by artist such as Rod Stewart, The Who, Jim Capaldi, Long John Baldry and many others.
Sam Mitchell's father refused to teach his son to play the guitar, saying that he should "get a proper job instead", but Mitchell hung out in the pub ran by his mother and taught himself to play here.
Sam Mitchell started his career in 1966 playing folk-clubs in Liverpool later Brighton before moving to London, where he was discovered playing in folk-clubs by Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart. His first studio recording was released on a compilation of folk-blues tracks named Firepoint in 1969. The year after he showcased his fine slide playing on Rod Stewarts Gasoline Alley and in 1971 on Every Picture Tells a Story where his slide playing is heard in the intro to Amazing Grace.
In the early seventies Sam Mitchell was a member of different blues bands most notably Uncle Dog with vocalist Carol Grimes.
From circa 1976 Sam Mitchell played with his own Sam Mitchell Blues Band with Steve York and different drummers among others Jeff Rich (who would later join Status Quo). His first solo-albums Bottleneck/Slide Guitar and Follow Me Down was recorded with this band. They also worked as session band for Charlie Musselwhite on the album Harmonica According to C.H.
In the 80's he joined Dana Gillespie's blues band.
Sam Mitchell re-located to Denmark in the mid-eighties and formed a blues band with Bjørn Uglebjerg (ex-Gasolin'), drums, and Jens Elbøl, bass. They recorded their self-titled and self-produced record in may 1987. In the autumn that year Mitchell joined danish up-and-coming rock-band The Sandmen in the recording-studio in Stockholm recording their first LP. The band was signed to A&M records in the US and Mitchell became a full member of the band. In 1989 an american edition of the band's debut-album, Western Blood, was released in North America. The band went on a promotion-tour through the US playing legendary venues as CBGBs and Whiskey A Go Go and a video to the single House In The Country saw some airplay on MTV. Nevertheless their effort bore little fruit. The band was released from their A&M deal during the recording of their second album, and they focused on the home-audience which kept growing. After five albums the band split up in february 1995. The Sandmen re-united for a short period in 1997 playing a few concerts and recording a song, The Edge of Reality, for an Elvis tribute-cd.
Sam Mitchell left Denmark and returned home to Liverpool in 1999 due to tuberculosis. His health improved after some years and he then resided in the Netherlands where he was active on the blues-scene. Unfortunately he was struck with sickness again and returned to Liverpool where a heart attack ended his life in 2006 at 56.
His slide playing on his National Steel guitar was Mitchell's trademark and he is said to have taught Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits how to play the steel guitar (a National Steel guitar later appeared on the cover of Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms album).
The guitar followed him through his life. Once it was stolen from him at a gig, but miraculously he traced it down in a pawn-shop. Mitchell named his guitar "The Tin Machine". Sam Mitchell is buried in the Assistens cemetery in Copenhagen.
1969 Various Artists: Firepoint (Sam Mitchell contributes with one song: Leaf Without a Tree)
1976 Sam Mitchell : Bottleneck/Slide Guitar (Kicking Mule KM129)
1976 Various Artist: I Got Rhythm (Sam Mitchell contributes three songs)
1978 Sam Mitchell: Follow Me Down (Kicking Mule KM306)
1979 Various Artist: Blues Guitar Workshop (Sam Mitchell contributes two songs)
1987 Sam Mitchell, Bjørn Uglebjerg, Jens Elbøl: ST. (Olufsen DOC 5055)
1996 Homesick MAC & Sam Mitchell: Two Long From Home (Mafioso CD MRCD 1004)
2000 Sam Mitchell: Resonating (Taxim CD TX 1045-2 TA)