Ironing Board Sam (born 1939) is an American electric blues keyboardist, singer and songwriter, who has released a small number of singles and albums. Despite having several lows in his musical career, it has spanned over fifty years, and he released a new album in 2012. "I'll tell you one thing, it's the blues," stated Ironing Board Sam. "That's why I look like a blues man now."
One commentator noted that Ironing Board Sam's 1996 album, Human Touch, portrays that he "has a surprisingly smooth and effective croon and his piano playing, while subdued, is still remarkable."
He was born Sammie Moore in Rock Hill, South Carolina, United States. While concentrating initially on boogie-woogie and gospel, he learned the electric organ before graduating to playing the blues in Miami, Florida. After relocating to Memphis, Tennessee in 1959, Ironing Board Sam organised his own band and got his stage name from his habit of strapping his legless keyboard on top of an ironing board when performing. Although he disliked his stage name he later turned it to an advantage by giving away ironing boards at some of his concerts. In 1962, he was backed by a band containing a youthful Jimi Hendrix.
He moved around the United States trying to get a recording contract, eventually issuing a handful of singles with Atlantic, Styletone and Holiday Inn in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He also performed on Night Train in the mid 1960s.
His performing technique was unusual and he developed the eccentric personae in several directions. He invented his own 'button keyboard', which had a regular keyboard arrangement underneath which was fitted guitar strings. Rudimentary electronics gave him a three pronged sound, which he used primarily when billed as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World' while performing as a duo with his drummer Kerry Brown. In 1978, his intention to perform in a hot air balloon was only aborted due to adverse weather conditions. At the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival a year later he played in a 1,500 gallon filled water tank. By 1982, when he had moved back to New Orleans, he had developed the idea of being a human jukebox, so that he only played when people inserted coins into his jukebox styled costume. He worked the Latin Quarter and got some club work via an appearance on the television program, Real People. In the late 1980s he was accompanied by a toy monkey, known as 'Little George', that was rigged to play in synchronization with a drum machine. His live sets more latterly featured a mix of blues and jazz.
In 1990, Ironing Board Sam toured Europe, and in 1996 his debut album, Human Touch was released.
Ironing Board Sam joined the Music Maker Relief Foundation in 2010, and moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He was provided with new musical equipment, recorded a new album and played at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April 2012.
In late 2012 and 2013, Ironing Board Sam played a series of concerts across North Carolina. In March 2014, he appeared at the Steel City Blues Festival. In April 2014, Ironing Board Sam returned to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
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