CHICAGO – Sam Lay, a Chicago blues drummer and singer who played with Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, has died aged 86.
Lay died Saturday of natural causes in Chicago, Alligator Records said Monday.
Lay, known for wearing a cape and carrying a cane, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 as part of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
“Words can’t describe it if you’re into the blues like I am,” Lay told the South Bend Tribune that year, referring to the band. “I loved that moment, and everyone in that band, I loved it. I learned a lot from everyone in there, and they claim to have learned a lot from me.”
Alligator Records says Lay is known for his signature, hard-to-copy “ double-shuffle’ drumming, which is based on his childhood church clapping.
The record label said Lay, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, played professionally in Cleveland in the mid-1950s before moving to Chicago.
In 1969, he played drums on “Fathers & Sons”, Waters’ best-selling record on Chess Records.
Lay assisted Dylan in playing the drums in 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival. It caused quite a stir in the crowd because Dylan played the electric guitar and switched to a rock sound.