Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Magic Slim and the Teardrops - Raising the Bar (Blind Pig, 2010)

Magic Slim and the Teardrops are one of the great traditional electric blues bands in Chicago, performing the music that is the legacy of Magic Sam, Otis Rush and all of the artists that came through the Chess stable. Playing meat and potatoes working man's blues, the band is unpretentious, tough and strong as steel consisting of Magic Slim on vocals and guitar, Jon McDonald on guitar, Andre Howard on bass and B.J. Jones on drums. The musical selections are gritty and spirited like the tale of infidelity "Breaking Up Somebody's Home" that reaches a fast muscular groove with powerful drums pushing the music forward. Slim's guitar strikes sparks over a shuffling groove. "Cummins Prison Farm" moderates the groove to medium for a tough tale of prison life and violence, proceeding at a dark and haunting pace. The old J.B. Lenoir standard "Mama Talk To Your Daughter" lightens the mood and takes off at a blasting pace with strong guitar and backbeat along with call and response vocals. Another nice cover, this time of Elmore James' "I Can't Hold Out" keeps the groove hot with Slim's expressive, swaggering vocals and no nonsense guitar playing. This is a very well done album of solid no frills electric blues. Slim and his band has been battling it out nightly in blues clubs around the world for decades and the experience pays off with tight arrangements and fine performances all around. Raising the Bar -

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