Sam-sational, Samuel Lowe

By Wendy Ballard

Samuel "Sammy" Lowe was an African-American born in Birmingham, Alabama. He was an outstanding composer and arranger, beginning his musical career in the 1940's spanning through the 1970's.

In the 40's, some of his big band blockbusters were "Bicycle Bounce", "No Soap", "Bearmash Blues", "Raid the Joint", "Nona", and vocalist Laura Washington's "I've got a Right to Cry".

Sammy also worked with Don Redman, Sammy Davis, Jr., Cab Calloway, Sy Oliver, and Lucky Millinder. For nearly 22 years, Sammy was was the chief arranger and composer for Erskine Hawkins' Orchestra.

In the 1950' through the 1970's, Sammy worked more with rock and roll, rhythym & blues, and soul. Collaborating with such artistes as, James Brown
( "It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World", 1966, million seller), Sylvia ( "Pillow Talk") Sam Cooke, the Moments ( "Sexy Mama"), Al Hirt, The Tokens, ("A Lion Sleeps Tonight"), The Platters, The Isley Brothers, Roy Hamilton ("You Can Have Her"). Sammy was called the best arranger in the business by Al Hirt.

In the 70's Sammy took time out of his schedule to teach seminars at the local High School about the music industry, and getting your foot in the door.

Samuel Lowe Sr. chose to live and raise a family in Teaneck, NJ. He had one son, where they lived for many years on Amsterdam Avenue. After his loving wife died in the 1980's, he grew lonesome for the south, and returned to Birmingham. Years later, he was laid to rest there.

His only son, Samuel Lowe Jr. is also a musical genius who resides in Birmingham, Alabama.



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©W. Ballard, 2003
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