Sam Gary

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Sam Gary (February 19, 1917 – July 20, 1986) was an African-American blues, spiritual and folk singer, who to the wider public is known for his long-lasting musical co-operation with Josh White.

Born in Florida, Gary by the 1940s was a member of 'Josh White and his Carolinians' and the Almanac Singers. In 1956, and as a soloist he was produced by Dean Gitter (alias 'Dean Laurence') and with guitar accompaniment by Josh White, recorded an album for the British record label Esquire. One year later it was released in the U.S. on Tom Wilson's 'Transition Records'.

Some references say that Sam Gary recorded just one solo album. Around 1956, my father taught a course entitled Management of New Enterprises at Harvard Business School. Students in the class wrote papers on small business start-ups. They provided product samples with the papers. One paper was on a recording company, whose name I can no longer remember. The sample was an LP of Sam Gary singing and playing. The songs included some which had been recorded on Josh at Midnight with Josh White, but here were sung solo. They included His Eye is on the Sparrow, Just a Closer Walk with Thee, and Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho. This was a "sample" record and I don't know if it was ever broadly released. I kept the LP for quite a while, but it was accidentally destroyed when I was in college in the late 60's. I've never been able to find another copy.

Gary died in Aiken, South Carolina.

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