Lay played with Little Walter’s band before joining Howlin Wolf. He stayed there until 1963 when he was lured away by the Butterfield band. He played in the studio on Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited recording. Later, Dylan wrote to Lay: “thanks for backing me up on what many say is the best album I’ve ever made.”
Later, Lay was drummer for the James Cotton Blues Band and he played in 1969 on Muddy Waters’ Father and Sons album. He also recorded with the great Willie Dixon. Later he formed the Sam Lay Blues Revival Band, and subsequently the Sam Lay Blues Band. He is now heard on more than 40 Chess recordings with some of the greatest names in the blues.
In the above photo, which I took at B.B. Kings club in New York City in August, 2005, Lay played with the Chicago Blues Reunion.
Sam Lay has been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, the Jazz Hall of Fame in Los Angeles, and the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
Happy birthday, Sam Lay. You have played with the best musicians of your generation. What a legacy!