Magic Slim & the Teardrops | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Magic Slim & the Teardrops 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

MAGIC SLIM & THE TEARDROPS

Magic Slim emerged fully formed from the south-side blues circuit in 1975 with the single "Wonder Why" and its B-side, "Teardrop," recorded for Mean Mistreater--the label run by his drummer at the time, blues DJ Steve Cushing. His first stateside full-length, Grand Slam (Rooster Blues), followed in '82, and though Slim still plays the same mix of boogie-charged shuffles and back-alley screamers he did on that album, he's not in a rut: he's stuck with his signature style for all these years because he's never run out of new things to say with it. Few guitarists can coax as much heat from a single fretboard position--he'll start with a tight bundle of notes, then unwind into a sinewy lead that he'll chop off short or stretch out into a sensual shiver--and his leathery vocals sound tender and truculent at once. On Snakebite (Blind Pig), Slim's latest disc with his long-running band, the Teardrops, he shows off his songwriting and even tries out fresh musical directions on a couple tracks: the title tune features second guitarist Michael Dotson on slide, and "Key to Your Door," penned by Slim's bassist and brother, Nick Holt, is a lean soul-blues number that sounds like it's fighting its way out from under a heap of scrap metal. Slim slows down Muddy Waters's "Country Boy" to a bone-crunching tempo, and his solo writhes like a snake on a pitchfork; where Muddy sang "I don't know what's going on," Slim proclaims "I always will do you wrong!" His trademark brew of free-floating menace, frustrated desire, and Saturday night bacchanal comes through best on his version of Little Milton's "Lump on Your Stump": Slim threatens everyone in earshot, and sounds downright jubilant doing it. Friday, 9:30 PM, Famous Dave's, 739 N. Clark; 312-266-2400. DAVID WHITEIS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chris Jacobs.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories