Saturday, May 17, 2014

Shawn Holt & the Tear Drops Daddy Told Me

Shawn Holt is the son of the late blues legend, Morris “Magic Slim’ Holt, and after the passing of his father has taken over The Teardrops. Blind Pig has just issued the first CD from Shawn Holt and The Teardrops, Daddy Told Me, and it is a strong recording very much in the vein of his father with driving medium tempo shuffles and slow-drag, bump and grind, blues. In addition to his guitar and vocals, he is joined by Levi William on guitar, Chris Biedron on bass and Brian ‘B.J.’ Jones on drums. On two selections, John Primer, who had a long tenure playing with Magic Slim, replaces William.

The tone is set with the opening Fannie Mae, where the Teardrops groove kicks in with Holt delivering the lyrics playing stinging guitar. The title track is an original, but based on Howlin’ Wolf’s How Many More Years and Baby How Long. Holt is a terrific singer who sings a bit more directly than his late father, as heard on his rendition of A.C. Reed’s Buddy Buddy Friends. This was a staple of Magic Slim’s repertoire which might explain why is is erroneously credit to Holt and not Reed. Other standout tracks include the rollicking rendition of Jimmy Reed’s Down In Virginia, and the Junior Wells, classic Little By Little. Primer handles the vocal and lead on Bo Diddley’s Before You Accuse Me, and which incorporates  the Dust My Broom riff.

Besides his strong singing and guitar playing, Shawn Holt also contributed several originals including the title track and the powerful Love Got Me Walkin’. The music here never sounds hurried or frantic and the medium tempos will undoubtedly appeal to dancers. Shawn Holt and the Teardrops may be perpetuating Magic Slim’s legacy with the performances on this first-rate recording, but he also shows that he is himself a promising, significant voice for today’s blues.

I received my review copy from Blind Pig Records.  Shawn will be appearing at the Pennsylvania Blues Festival in July. Here is a video clip of Shawn at Kingston Mines in Chicago with Eddie Shaw making guest appearance.

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