Magic Sam was born Samuel Gene Meghett in Grenada, MS on Valentine's Day, 1937. He learned to play guitar listening to Muddy Waters and Little Walter records, and passed what he learned along to his classmate, Morris Holt (who would later become Magic Slim). He moved to the Windy City at the age of 19, and furthered his music education, learning from neighbor and fellow guitarist Syl Johnson, who helped transform Sam's "hillbilly" style into the blues. He started gigging in Chicago clubs, with Johnson, Johnson's bass-playing brother Mack Thompson, and gambler-turned-harmonica player Shakey Jake Harris, under the name Good Rocking Sam.
Sam's tenure with Cobra was interrupted by another Sam.....Uncle Sam, who drafted Magic Sam into the army. Unfortunately, he and the army weren't a good match, and Sam ended up serving six months in jail for going AWOL. When Cobra went under (soon after owner and notorious gambler Toscano's body was fished out of Lake Michigan), Sam headed over to Mel London's Chief Records in 1960. While his Chief sides weren't quite as compelling as his earlier work with Cobra, he did make a few noteworthy recordings, such as a remake of Fats Domino's "Every Night About This Time." The flip side was "Do The Camel Walk," an instrumental that was popular in Chicago clubs at the time and was later recorded much more successfully by fellow West Sider Freddy King as "Hideaway." Over the years, the song has been linked to King, but sources say that it was actually developed by Hound Dog Taylor a few years earlier.