MAGIC SLIM & THE TEARDROPS
Bad Boy, Someone Else Is Steppin' In, I Got Money, Sunrise Blues, Girl What You Want Me To Do, Hard Luck Blues, Gambling Blues, Champagne And Reefer, How Much More Long, Matchbox Blues, Older Woman, Country Joyride.
Now well into his mid-seventies, it is greatly to his credit that, as one of the few remaining Mississippi-to-Chicago bluesmen, Magic Slim can still pack such a punch.
This new album is as lively and spirited as any that he has released over the last decade or so. His great growly vocals still hits the spot and his guitar playing remains as muscular as ever.
Thankfully, the latest version of the Teardrops are well versed in helping Slim do what he does best, classic Chicago blues that is low on frills but high on thrills. Jon McDonald on guitar feeds off Slim's fretwork while Andre Howard on bass and BJ Jones on drums maintain a rock steady rhythm to keep things flowing.
The album gets off to an up-tempo start with the title track, a cover of Eddie Taylor's classic. Next up is an early highlight, a version of Denise LaSalle's Someone Else Is Steppin' In, a modern soul classic originally released on Malaco some years back but superbly claimed and bent into shape by Slim and the band to fit their blues leanings.
Other covers feature prominently across the album, all judiciously selected to allow the band the time and space to re-create the songs in their image. These include JB Lenoir's How Much More Long, Roy Brown's Hard Luck Blues and Lil' Ed's Older Woman. There is also a particularly impressive version of Champagne And Reefer, one of Muddy Waters late-period compositions that offers Slim the chance to indulge not only in some trademark soloing but also some verbal contortions (that I take to be a light-hearted attempt to mimic Muddy but I might just be imagining this).
There are also some strong self-written numbers, most notably Country Joyride, a short but rocking instrumental that closes the album, and Gambling Blues which has a killer riff, always a feature of all his albums in the past and, hopefully, many more albums into the future.
Another excellent release from one of our most reliable and consistent bluesman. Long may he continue.
Review Date: October 2012