Mini-documentary about obscure R&B musician Ironing Board Sam

 
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Originally from South Carolina, Sam Moore, better known as Ironing Board Sam, has had an interesting, rocky, and obscure career in music for the past fifty years. He started out in the rich Miami club scene but soon left to try his luck in Memphis and Chicago, looking for session work. After a few more stops around the country, Sam ended up in New Orleans. He got his nickname from a time when he set his keyboard up on an ironing board—out of necessity—but later embraced the character and continued to use the ironing board stunt.

Ironing-Board-Sam-Holiday-Inn-RecordsHe released a few sides here and there, including one on Styletone, one on Atlantic Records, and one on the short-lived Holiday Inn label! In his prime during the mid-’60s, he toured the chitlin circuit with Jimi Hendrix and appeared on the Nashville R&B show Night Train in 1965.

Throughout the ’70s, he invented knew ways to play his keyboard, including flying through the air on ropes! And at the 1979 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, he devised an even more risky way to show off his unique skills: he played while submerged in a tank of water.

Ironing Board Sam

Photo by Walter Lenk

 

In 2010, the Music Maker Relief Foundation met up with Sam and assisted him with medical care, vehicle repair, and relocation from Katrina-devastated New Orleans to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Filmmaker  has created a great, short documentary, Ironing Board Sam’s Return, that showcases Sam’s amazing spirit and perseverance.

 

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