Award winning Chicago blues manof Magic Slim and the Teardrops has died February 21 at the age of 75 in a Philadelphia hospital. According to Magic Slim's manager Marty Salzman, Magic Slim has had a variety of health problems over the past several weeks. Magic Slim and the Teardrops had been on tour when Slim was hospitalized for difficulty breathing.
Magic Slim and his band The Teardrops were frequent visitors on the musc festival circuit where they played Chicago blues. Salzman said hearing the band play was like stepping into a time machine with nothing but straight up blues.
Born Morris Holt on August 7, 1937 in Torrence, Mississippi, Magic Slim, along with his band The Teardrops, became a part of the Chicago blues scene in the sixties.
Like fellow blues man BB King, Magic Slim grew up in the Mississippi cotton Delta the son of sharecroppers. Holt began his musical passions by singing in the choir and playing on the piano but an encounter with a cotton gin when he was 13 took the little finger on Holt's right hand; as a result, he turned his hand to the guitar teaching himself how to play. He used some bailing wire from his mother's broom to construct the guitar. Speaking on that first guitar; Magic Slim said, “My mama whopped me when I tor up her broom 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.”
Holt made his first trip to Chicago in 1955 where he played the bass for. He returned to Chicago in the early sixties where he began performing again, this time playing the guitar. He recorded his debut album in 1966.
Following the advice of Magic Sam to get a sound of his own, Magic Slim was known for his unusual playing style that sounded like a slide guitar but was done with Slim's own fingers not a slide.
His writing and set styles ere as unusual as his playing style. Slim said that all of his songs either told a story or asked a question; and when it came to putting together a set list for a show...he didn't. Slim said he would play a few songs and see how the crowd reacted. He then based the remaining set on that feeling.
Magic Slim is a six time Blues Music Award winner.
(Partial) Magic Slim Discography – from 1977:
“Born Under a Bad Sign”
“Highway is My Home”
“Live at the Zoo Bar”
“TV Dinner Blues”
“Life at B.L.U.E.S.”
“Magic Slim & The Teardrops”
“Blues of the Magic Man”
“Alone & Unplugged”
“Chicago Blues Session, Vol. 18: Live on the Road”
“Anything Can Happen”
“Tin Pan Alley”
“That Ain't Right”
“The Essential Magic Slim Vol. 2”
“Raising the Bar”