He was a drummer nicknamed “Slamming Sammy” born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, who started out in his musical career in the 1950s. He started out while still at school by taking the place of the drummer for The JazzKatz when he had broken his foot and would follow that by playing with Sonny Burgess and then moving to Memphis, Tennesee.
He was a member of the group The Spyders who became The Tarantulas that had a hit with “Tarantula” and then the group became members of Bill Black’s Combo after Bill Black became ill and toured the US with The Beatles in 1964. From there he went on to perform with Tony Joe White, appear on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show, be nominated in Playboy Magazine as best drummer and move to Miami with his co-founded group The Dixie Flyers.
He performed with many artists and groups over the course of his career including Carl Perkins, Aretha Franklin, Junior Parker , Rita Coolidge, Dr. John, Jimmy Buffett , Sam the Sham, B.J. Thomas, Dottie West, Sonny Burgess, Ted Nugent, Brooke Benton, Kris Kristofferson, Sam & Dave, Bob Tucker, Charlie Rich, Bob Dylan and Billy Lee Riley.
Becoming firm friends with Kris Kristofferson he appeared on many of his recordings as well as in his films Convoy, A Star is Born and Songwriter. He had moved to Boston to work with Kris Kristofferson and the Wells Fargo company and then relocated to Memphis to take on a managerial position of their office there and become a member of Jerry Lee Lewis’s band.
Appearing on numerous albums during his career he can be heard on Breakaway, Essential Kris Kristofferson, To the Bone and Spooky Lady’s Sideshow by Kris Kristofferson, Two Sides to Every Story by Gene Clark, Bein’ Free by Jerry Jeff Walker, Collectable Classics by Carmen McRae, Spirit in the Dark, 30 Greatest Hits, Rare and Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign, Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings by Aretha Franklin, Anthology Vol. 2 by Duane Allman, Today/Home Style by Brooke Benton, Subject to Change by Delbert McClinton, To Bonnie from Delaney by Delaney & Bonnie, Revolutions of Time: The Journey 1975-1993 by Willie Nelson, White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean, Rancho Deluxe, Living and Dying in 3/4 Time, Havana Daydreamin’ and A-1-A by Jimmy Buffett with his Coral Reefer Band , Lady’s Not For Sale and Anytime, Anywhere by Rita Coolidge , Best of Tony Joe White and Best of Esther Phillips among others.
He sadly died from a brain aneurism in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1995 when he was only 51 years old.
Jimmy Buffett recordings
Havana Daydreamin’ (Jimmy Buffett)
Here he is performing on drums on Lulu’s recording of “Good Day Sunshine”…