Like Sun Ra, Samm Bennett was born in the middle of Alabama and became a musician. Also like Sun Ra, Samm went far away and doesn’t come back to town often. He lives in Japan, now. He’s been there for decades, performing around Tokyo solo and in various combos such as the Swamp Root Jimmies, S&H, King Cake Baby and Drunk Poets See God. I listened to Samm a good bit before another friend turned me on to Skip James and I recognized some of Samm’s roots. They really like him in Tokyo because they know good music.
Here, alone with a strumstick, Samm Bennett shows his ability to create a dreamlike atmosphere, a personal culture of simple instrument, rich voice and evocative lyrics.
One of my favorites among Samm’s combos is S&H, which is Samm and Habu Hiroshi, here performing Oh Death with that same floating Bennett atmosphere deepened by Habu’s drum.
And for something completely different, here’s a sampler of King Cake Baby, Samm’s New Orleans style combo.
I hope to get Samm to do the soundtrack for one of my screenplays when it’s made into a movie, someday. Until then, unless you can get to Tokyo, you’ll have to catch him on YouTube. But you can also check out his Facebook page, Samm Bennett Music. Give him a Like and a konnichiwa!