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Issue 1090

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Review

MAGIC SLIM & THE TEARDROPS: BAD BOY (Dixiefrog)

Magic Slim CD Cover Pic

10

6.0

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UK release date 17.09.2012

With an apparent epidemic of OCD about the rockier end of blues, among the current batch of guitarists here in the UK, in Europe and across the pond, it has restored my faith to have a REAL blues album land on my desk and blast out of my CD player.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you; Magic Slim and his new CD âBad Boy.â He ain;t bad, heâs blindlingly good my friends.

Not a rock lick in ear shot. It should be filed under BLUES and turned up real loud. This guy is the real deal and has been around the block many times over many decades of playing the blues as it should be played. He has a fine band in The Treadrops, but Slim carries this whole project on his own authenticity and his âI've paid my duesâ innate abilities. No ripped off licks here, folks. This guy spanks that plank in his very own style. A rare thing.

Chicago-based, but he takes us to the sweaty, swampy Delta and back to the Windy City in these 12 glorious tracks. It held my attention from the first bars of the opener, the title track, to the fade out of âCountry Joyride.â Magic Slim really is one of the last of a dying breed and should be revered and celebrated. We have BB, we have Buddy, but who else, these days? Thereâs the younger cats like Sherman Robertson, and some of the guys on Alligator, but at 75 years old, Magic Slim is an originator.

The Eddie Taylor title track from 1955 has a deep groove and that groove is relenteless all the way through. The tone and "dirtiness" of his gutar is thrilling. His playing is exciting and raw. His vocals are passiobnate and honest. The band are as tight as a duckâs a-hole, the material fits him like a glove. The production and minimal approach is unfussy and sounds "as live." It is not perfect, but if you see a true blues artsit giving it their all on stage, it will never be. It is of the moment and all the better for it. I doubt they spent weeks on the recording process, and Iâd bet most are one or two takes. The way it used to be........

He has the attack of Albert Collins, and the string bending of Albert King. Heâs got that swampy, country blues vibe of Gatemouth and puts me in mind sometimes of guys like Lonnie Mack and Roy Buchanan. But most of all, Magic Slim sounds like Magic Slim. No solo is the same and youâd be right in thinking heâd need major surgery to have that guitar surgically removed from his hands, such is the natural feel he has for the instrument.

This stuff is not laid back, âwoe is me, I lost my wife, kids and job,â blues. This is head smacking, toe tapping, hip swaying, full throttle blues youâd hear night in, night out in the dives of Chicago and the tough chitlin' circuit of the deep south, when the BB Kings and the Muddys were still wet behind the ears.

His voice is not what it used to be, it is pretty road worn but all the better for it. Slim aka Morris Holt, wrote three iof the dozen, and he covers the Denise LaSalle track âSomeone Else Is Steppinâ In,â the classic âGirl What You want me To Do,â Muddyâs âChampagne and Reefer,â JB Lenoirâs âHow Much More Lng,â Albert Kingâs âMatchbox Blues,â and Lil Edâs âOlder Woman.â Slim is joined by Jon McDonald on guitar, Andre Howard on bass and BJ Jones on drums.

This album is a must have if youâre a true blues fan, if you love blisteringly unique guitar playing by a man who mkes every note count and never overplays. Raw blues vocals played and sung by a guy who desrves the accoldae âlegend.â Even if many will not have heard of him as yet. That all changes here and now with this superb recording. UK and Eurppean blues festivals would be doing themselves a big favour by getting this guy and his band over here in 2013, while they still can.

Once the last of these remarkable originals has gone, what are we left with? Gary Moore and Joe Bonamassa impersonators? This is one of my favourite CDs of the last few years.
Words SIMON REDLEY

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