Magic Slim Passes
Another Bad Boy Done Gone…
The following was released on Thursday, February 21. We reprint it here in its entirety.
It is with great sorrow that I inform you that Magic Slim a.k.a. Morris Holt, of Grenada, Mississippi, passed away Thursday, February 21, 2013. He will be missed by his family, friends, and blues fans all over the world. Funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced later this week. The family wishes to thank everyone for their kind words and prayers.
Marty Salzman – Manager, Magic Slim
Linda Cunningham – Public Relations, Magic Slim
Mike Blakemore – Tour Manager, Magic Slim
Magic Slim was a blues legend who migrated from the South to Chicago during the 1940s and ’50s. Slim played raw, intense blues, a style that used no pedals down, just him. Slim paved the way for rock as well as modern blues. Slim and The Teardrops performances became legendary, and they played the blues with an undeniable intensity that left one out of breath on the floor and in need for more.
This big man of the blues was born Morris Holt in Torrence, Mississippi on August 7, 1937. His mother and father were sharecroppers; they lived on a farm and they all would get up early in the mornings and slop the hogs, feed the chickens, catch the mule, and go out into the fields. “I still had to go to the field until I got age enough to leave home.
MAGIC SLIM and THE TEARDROPS “Mamma Talk to Your Daughter”
“I got little jobs around there when I was 13 and that was when I got my hand hurt. I hurt it in a cotton gin. I was at the gin and my hand got caught on a piece of wire going up in there, and I grabbed it and before I could turn it loose, I lost my little pinky finger.” Slim showed his musical talents early, singing in his church choir and playing piano.
After his accident he couldn’t play the piano anymore because he didn’t have that little pinkie finger so he picked up the guitar. He made his first guitar out of bailing wire from a broom, which he nailed to a wall. “My Mama whopped me when I tore up her broom,” he said, “but she let me keep on using it. My Mama said later that if she had known what I’d be into later, she wouldn’t have given me a whopping.”
Magic Slim & The Teardrops, Vienna 1991
It was in 1955 when Slim made his first trip to Chicago, to play for Magic Sam, a friend of his from home. Magic Sam also gave Slim tips on playing the guitar, and it was Sam who called his bass player “Magic Slim,” because back then Slim was lean and tall and he learned from Sam quickly. Sam told Slim to develop his own guitar style.
“Magic Sam told me, don’t try to play like him, and don’t try to play like no one else; he said get a sound of your own.” Slim did get a sound of his own; his guitar tone is tough and cutting, united with a vibrato formed by his fingers against the strings to reproduce the sound of a slide guitar while still being able to bend the note. Slim said, “I slide with my finger. I use nothing on my finger, a lot of players try to get a sound like me and I play the same guitar everybody else plays.”
Magic Slim “Bad Boy- Gambling Blues – Someone Else Is Steppin’ In”
Slim’s take on writing songs. “I just think of some words and write them down, think of some more and write them down, and then when I get enough words together I take out some and put some in there and make them rhyme together and then I learn them, then I put music to them.” “My songs are either telling a story or asking a question. It’s just a feelin’.”
Magic Slim is a man that came from the country; he was slim and tall trying to play the blues, now he can play the blues. And like Slim says, ”If you want to play the blues, play the blues, if you don’t feel the blues, leave it alone, cause you can’t be playin’ it if you don’t feel it.”
Reprinted with permission. Written By Linda Cunningham
Magic Slim & the Teardrops – I’m a Bluesman
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