Saturday, September 18, 2010

“Raising the Bar” - Magic Slim & the Teardrops (Blind Pig Records)

By Malcolm Kennedy
Raising The Bar
Magic Slim (aka Morris Holt) is one of the last purveyors of electric Chicago blues who was there when the notorious South Side clubs were still in existence and the blues luminaries were still alive and performing. Raising the Bar clearly shows why Magic Slim is now considered a legend in his own right.

Since his days playing bass for his boyhood buddy Magic Sam back in the late 50’s, to forming the Teardrops in 1967 with his brothers Nick and Douglas (Lee Baby) on bass and drums, to making a name for himself across the US and Europe in the 70’s, Slim has been one of the toughest players around. Magic Slim has won WC Handy/BMA awards and recorded for several different labels. His first Blind Pig release was in 1990. At 73 he is still touring strong. Just last year he played locally at the Hwy 99 Blues Club on May 7th, the Untapped R&B festival, the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival and the Winthrop R&B Festival.

Raising the Bar does just that with 11 tracks of raw, gritty, rollicking blues with three originals and fantastic covers of JB Lenoir’s “Mama Talk to Your Daughter”, Elmore James “I Can’t Hold Out”, and songs like “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” and “Part Time Love.” Slim’s originals are all strong, I found “Shame” to be one of the stand out tracks on the album.. Another excellent cut is Slim’s take on Roosevelt Sykes’ “Sunny Road Blues;” however, you won’t be finding any of Sykes barrelhouse piano here just string bending blues guitar. For lovers of rough and raw hard edged traditional blues, look no further than Magic Slim’s Raising the Bar.


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