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November 04, 2007


Brad Strum

Woof! This is an assault on the ears. I don’t think in my years and years of listening to music both sincere and parody have I heard worse vocals than Sam Sacks - at least on a record. O the horror. Sam’s version of “Ol’ Man River” is even worse than the version sung (for “fun”) by Howard Stern’s father. This record was obviously paid for by old Sam (or people very close to him). I don’t think any producer would pay for production and distribution of this record and even HOPE to make ANY money from its purchase. This is also evident from the end of “That Old Black Magic” when Sam makes a GLARING mistake with the lyrics and someone suggests that he do yet a third take. When Sam asks if this is necessary and wants a break before trying again the engineer says that it was fine (!) along with several of the musicians (or others in the booth) which goes to show that no one wanted to stay any longer than the allotted time. To say NOTHING of the liner notes! Could Sam have written these himself? More likely they were written by someone, with a bit of writing skill, who wanted Sam to get his money’s worth. The only thing worse than Sam’s appalling vocal sound (like sand paper being quickly rubbed against vinyl) is the fact that he just can’t seem to find a key, or an octave for that matter. He also doesn’t seem to give a damn about tempo at all, not even caring to be in sync with the music, instead just rolling through the songs at his own rough, uneven pace. Song after song will make you cringe. Just to sum up on Sam’s grasp of vocal expertise, I have heard better sound from yowling cats, finger nails scraping a chalk board, squeaky clarinets and violins, pieces of Styrofoam rubbing together, metal utensils scraping on pots or plates, etc. Finally, does this compellation come under the “it’s so bad it’s good” heading? Hard to say. I didn’t laugh. I mostly cringed. This was just painful to listen to, BUT I do think it’s worth a listen. It was interesting to hear how AWFUL a man can sing; how even when taking himself completely seriously, he can do everything musically wrong. At the end of the day, it’s just so bad, it’s bad. Sorry Sam…

Dale Hazelton

I love photo 3 on the back of the sleeve: "cupping his ear to hear every nuance....." I think he was cupping his ear because he was deaf, no other reason for the lack of key or meter. A real treasure. Hurrah!


This is fan-friggin-tastic! I could listen to this over and over again.

David B.

This is the aural (musical?) definition of OY!

Horseface McGurk

Amazing! He sounds exactly like Connor Oberst of Bright Eyes.

Jan R.

Years ago a friend of mine found this at a yard sale and bought it, not being able to pass up on the wonderful cover photo. It is one of the most remarkable pieces of recorded work I've ever heard and it's a shame that more people don't know about it. My two favorite moments (although it's hard to narrow it down to just two) are when Sam irritably tells the engineer that he has to announce the songs (and then does so) as he leads into "You Too, You Too," and his wonderful yodels on "Yodel Blues." Whenever I hear "Yodel Blues" I nearly fall to the floor in tears as Sam tears into the line "Oh diddly doo, diddly doo, diddly diddly diddly doo, diddly diddly diddly doo-oo, diddly diddly doo!" Classic.

Sam Sacks

As a lark, I typed in my name in google to see what would come up. These recordings totally made my week. Being tone deaf and rhythm deficient, but suffused with and an appreciation of music in general, I feel if I recorded an album, it would come out pretty close to this. Thank you so much!


Well, at least one of these things (mono only? Any stereo copies out there?) got to a Reno thrift shop about 15 years ago where I snagged it for 50-cents, along with THE HINDU KUSH MOUNTAIN BOYS Lp. Yep, really inspired. I picked it up for the schizoid cover shot and wasn't (???) disappointed.

Gary J.

I just listened this LP (on vinyl). It left me speechless.
It sounds like Wild Man Fischer doing standards. Maybe it's his dad. Just so you know, it was released in 1961, as evidenced by the date etched in the trail-off area of the record. Brilliant.

Larry Siegel

I happen to be a member of the Hindu Kush Mountain Boys. How did you like that LP? That was recorded in 1978 but is still in release, believe it or not. I'm Larry, the mandolin player and composer of some of the tunes. The album is basically spiritual bluegrass on the subject of Eckankar. Subjects on the CD include contacting the inner Light and Sound, the spiritual master, dreams, spiritual ethics and singing the word HU, an old traditional name of God. Check out our other stuff on or on



Scott A

My uncle has this album... he bought it at the PX at his U.S. Air Force base back in the mid-60's. As someone with eclectic tastes in music, he saw the cover and thought, "This is either going to be the best album of all time, or the worst album of all time." And he was right...


The clue to the tongue-in-cheek liner notes is in the "audiophile" details in small print at the end. "...the track was fed through a Cyclotronic limiter to confine the dynamic range between 430 CPM and 8:15 AM. Contour was calibrated against a Monroe 36-24-36 curve for maximum effect."

Yeah, someone was having fun with these notes when they wrote them, and I doubt it was Sam. I think the producer or engineer wrote all this hilarious hyperbole and put this stuff in at the end as an in-joke bullshit indicator.

Micky Slim

does anybody know what happened to old Sam in the end?

Bob Perry

I actually met Sam in 1971 as he came to the record distributor i worked for in Hialeah promoting this record. (Tone Distributors) We actually handled distribution for him. I still have my copy on Arliss and still hear him saying to the engineer Vait Vait I can do better. Classic stuff.

Simon - Radio Arkeology

I played "That Old Black Magic" on my radio show this week (17-1-12) so that the good people of Doncaster, Yorkshire could listen to the genius that is Sam Sacks.

Paul F. Etcheverry

This is amazing - Sam NEVER matches pitch. Even The Shaggs periodically hit a correct note or accidentally sing on-key.

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