MAGIC SLIM & THE TEARDROPS
Love Somebody, Going To California, I’m Ready, I Got The Blues, Loving You (Is The Best Thing That Happened To Me), Since I Met You Baby, See What You’ve Done To Me, Spider In My Stew, Slim Talkin’ Part I, Look Over Yonder’s Wall, Jimmie, Do You Mean It?, Call My Job, Slim Talking Part II
For a number of decades Magic Slim and The Teardrops have been among the most dependable purveyors of no-nonsense, rough and tumble Chicago blues. On album after album, we have come to rely on a winning formula of rock solid drumming, funky bass and the twin guitar attack of Slim and (usually) John Primer, with Slim’s winningly-gruff vocals delivering songs plucked from a seemingly-endless stockpile of on-the-money originals and inspired cover versions.
Well, even Slim himself could not go on forever. With his passing in 2013, at the age of 75, we now have to prepare ourselves to make do with re-visiting his extensive back catalogue to enjoy his music into the future. Thankfully, when it comes to recorded material yet to be released, the cupboard does not seem to be exhausted. This exemplary live set from the early 1990s captures Slim and his cohorts where they are at their best; on stage on a hot and sweaty night (or maybe collection of nights) in a small club and in front of an appreciative and enthusiastic audience.
Everything we have come to expect of the band over the years is present and correct here. Songs old and new and borrowed and blue(s), including riveting versions of old-favourites Spider In My Stew and the Albert King-inspired Cold-Hearted Woman (listed here as I Got The Blues). Storming covers of classics include Elmore’s Look Over Yonder’s Wall, Muddy’s I’m Ready and Ivory Joe Hunter’s Since I Met You Baby. And there are also songs plucked from deep within the repertoire for a rare outing here.
The sound throughout is excellent, invoking as it does the excitement and enthusiasm of the performance, among both the audience and band themselves. Slim’s vocals are relaxed and confident on all numbers and, as much as the individual talents of the band shine, it is the interplay and solidity of the band as a unit that really impresses.
Hopefully, there will be other ‘finds’ to enjoy in the future from the Magic Slim archives. But, if this were to prove to be the final instalment, then he couldn’t have wished for a more representative and enjoyable way to take his leave.
Review Date: January 2015