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Magic Slim and the Teardrops - Raising The Bar

Blind Pig Records

Eleven tracks: 44mins 47 secs

www.myspace.com/magicslim

www.magicslimblues.com

Born Morris Holt in Grenada MS in 1937, Magic Slim has paid his dues. After moving to Chicago in 1955 he returned to the Magnolia state shortly thereafter and did not return to the windy city until ten years later. Following his delayed return, in 1966, he recorded Scufflin'", followed by a number of singles, recording work which lasted into the mid 1970s. He recorded his first album in 1977, Born Under A Bad Sign, for the French MCM label. He has been nominated a significant number of times for Blues Foundation, blues music awards and before the name changed, won the W.C. Handy Award as 'Blues Band Of The Year' for the sixth time in 2003.

This CD his ninth outing for Blind Pig (including a DVD) and features (of course) Slim (vocals, guitar); Jon McDonald (guitar, background vocals); Andrew Howard (bass guitar, background vocals); B.J. Jones (drums, background vocals). The band is tight and Slims axe work AND vocals are exemplary. The outstanding track is IMHO, Cummins Prison Farm Blues, a denunciation of that appalling prison in Arkansas which in 1968 became the centre of attention when three human skeletons were found on the farm; the remains of inmates who had been subjected to torture. An investigation found "a prison hospital served as torture chamberĒ and identified a doctor ďas chief tormentor." The revelations included allegations of electrical devices connected to the genitalia of inmates and court cases declared that prison conditions rose to the level of unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

Less harrowing, but no less well played and sung are superior versions of JB Lenoirís, Mama Talk To Your Daughter, Roosevelt Sykesí, Sunny Road Blues and Little Miltonís 4:59am. Not one track here that falls below the highest standard

This is Chicago Blues of the very best quality. Strongly recommended. Slim has indeed raised the bar to a new level. Canít wait for the next one!

Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South , a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and other good stuff for people along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see www.myspace.com/ianmckenzieuk) and has a web-cast Blues radio show on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central).

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