Monday, October 31, 2011

Excellent Rough Dried Magic Slim

It might surprise blues fans, but the Austrian Wolf label has issued 14 albums by Magic Slim & the Teardrops, way more than any other label. And these are not some run of the mill issues. Three of them have won WC Handy Awards and five were recorded at the legendary Zoo Bar which became Slim’s musical home some time ago. The 14th and latest Wolf album is Rough Dried Woman, which is subtitled “Magic Slim’s best 14 songs.” It is compiled from sessions recorded for Wolf between 1986 and 1992 and include 3 previously unissued live recordings. Present on all the recordings are Slim, his brother Nick Holt on bass guitar and second guitarist John Primer with four different drummers present on the sessions.

Magic Slim’s music is not fancy. It is pretty simple and direct with Slim’s emphatic driving guitar with its single note runs that show a bit of Albert King’s influence, the interaction with him and his second guitarist who during this period was John Primer, and brother Nick’s bass which originated the “lump ta lump” style made for the strong, immediately recognizable Teardrops sound. Nick passed away a little while ago and this CD is dedicated to his memory.

From the opening rendition of Big Mac’s Rough Dried Woman through the reworking of Buster Benton’s Spider in My Stew, to the concluding notes of Roy Brown’s Hard Luck Blues, this is typically solid Magic Slim recording. And the songs come from a variety of sources including Albert King, Lefty Dizz, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Bonnie Lee and Roy Brown. In this strong grouping of blues a few tracks stand out. There is a terrific slow rendition of “Matchbox Blues as done by Albert King as well as the down-in-the alley, slow grind of the cover of Lefty Dizz’s Bad Avenue. Slim’s marriage of a Dust My Broom groove to Bo Diddley’s Before You Accuse Me, is an driving rocker while the medium tempo reworking of Eddie Taylor’s Bad Boy is similarly irresistible before the stunning live rendition of Hard Luck Blues.

One rarely will go wrong with a Magic Slim recording and Rough Dried Woman is one of the better ones by him.

This was a purchase.

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