Magic Slim,
The Essential Magic Slim
(Blind Pig, 2007)

Maybe the best way to explore this disc is for me to give you the top 10 reasons why I love it:

1: Magic Slim and his band, the Teardrops, have been called the last real Chicago blues band. If they are not the last, they are certainly among the best. These guys can play.

2: The Essential Magic Slim contains 15 tracks that span his 18-year history with Blind Pig Records. By listening, you can hear the man's growth over the years while admiring his consistency.

3: Magic Slim is never not himself. He plays all the Chicago blues riffs, all of the famous lines that Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and the rest of the great Chicago guitar pickers play, but he never imitates them; he never fails to put his own spin on whatever lick he is playing.

4: He has great taste in covers. On this CD, he does Bo Diddley's "Before You Accuse Me," Jimmy Reed's "Down in Virginia" and Howlin' Wolf's "How Many More Years," among others. While respecting the originals, he makes them sound new. He kills on "Mustang Sally."

5: The man is one brilliant guitar player. As I mentioned, he plays all the standard riffs. He is not, however, content with just playing the standard riffs. When Slim takes off on a solo, he carries you with him to uncharted lands.

6: He has a sense of humor. He is not so serious that he cannot stick in the occasional country-sounding instrumental.

7: His voice sounds like gravel being scraped off of the sidewalk. That is a compliment. Magic Slim can definitely sing the blues and he can do it without sounding like anybody else.

8: The Essential Magic Slim contains a generous one hour-plus of music. The length is just about right -- a solid collection that, like the perfect concert, gets the artist off the stage while you are still satisfied and wanting more. The album does not overstay its welcome.

9: If you haven't heard Magic Slim, you're not going to find a better introduction. You could quibble about some of the selections; there are tunes in Slim's repertoire I'd like to have seen on this CD, but none I'd leave off. In all, it's a great way to meet the man and his music.

10: It is budget priced.

Go out and buy it. Listen and you'll want to write up your own reasons why you love it.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

17 May 2008

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new