Dear Friend & Music Maker Road Manager Sam Clayton, Jr. Passes Away

inTheir Adventureson April 14, 2020

From L to R: Ardie Dean, Alabama Slim, Sam Clayton Jr., Albert White, Nashid Abdul-Khaaliq, Lil’ Joe Burton, Robert Finley, Robert Lee Coleman

Every year since 1991 Music Maker artists have toured Europe. In 2005 we formed a partnership with Dixie Frog Records and Nueva Onda booking. Dixie Frog went on to produce 16 records of Music Maker artists, and Nueva Onda toured the Music Maker Blues Revue all across Europe in addition to Pura Fé, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Leyla McCalla, and the Como Mamas. This partnership is still alive today through the Greenville, NC based gospel group – Dedicated Men of Zion. Music Maker, Dixie Frog and Nueva Onda are a family. Jean Herve Michel, the head of Nueva Onda, has always treated our artists with love and care on these long and difficult tours, many of which I was on myself.

Jean Herve soon introduced me to his most his business partner Sam Clayton, Jr. Sam was from Jamaica but lived in France for many years.  His father was part of the Count Ossie Group which had set up a community in Rockfort near Wareika Hill on the east side of Kingston. This is where many of Kingston’s musicians learned about the Rastafari movement, including a young Bob Marley.

Sam was raised by the Skatalites, tour managed Steel Pulse, was Paul McCartney’s soundman and a member of the first Jamaican Olympic bobsled team. He was a tremendous man filled with an overwhelming love. Sam fell in love with the Music Maker elders and would often take time from his busy schedule to take the Music Maker Blues Revue on the road himself. These artists meant so much to him. He laughed and talked the talk with the artists on the long drives between shows. Sam was loved and respected by all the Music Maker artists as a friend who would do anything needed at any moment for them. A brother in the deepest sense.

I was brought to my knees when Jean Herve informed me that Sam passed away in Kingston, Jamaica from the coronavirus.

I asked Music Maker partner artist Albert White, who had been on many tours with Sam, his thoughts – “Sam was a good sound man and a good road manager. He took us on a lot of tours. He loved to to hang out with the guys and always looked out for us. Ain’t nothing bad I can say about Sam.”

Rest well dear brother.

– Tim Duffy

Read Sam’s NY Times obituary – here.

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