Magic Slim was born Morris Holt in Grenada, MS in 1937. He started out on piano, but lost his little finger in a cotton gin mishap. Unable to play piano, he took up guitar, making his first by taking the bailing wire from his mother's broom and nailing it to a wall ("My Mama whopped me when I Tore up her broom, but she let me keep using it. My Mama said later that if she had know what I'd be into later, she wouldn't have given me a whopping.")
|A Young Magic Slim|
Living Chicago Blues. After that, he recorded for several labels, including Rooster Blues, Isabel (later reissued by Alligator), but after the early 80's, the recording opportunities dried up.
In the early 90's, Slim's recorded output began to skyrocket, as he began recorded overseas with the Austrian label, Wolf, and domestically, he began a long, productive relationship with Blind Pig Records. He's still going strong, releasing discs for both labels regularly.....each one as solid a set of Chicago Blues as its predecessors. Primer left in the mid 90's for a solo career, and Nick Holt passed away a few years ago, but the band is still as strong as ever, and Slim continues to allow talent room to blossom under his tutelege.
a live performance captured on DVD. He has been cast as the lead on a motion picture, called We Be Kings, which is currently seeking funding, and he even got a Blues Marker in his native Grenada last year. Soon to be 75 years old, Magic Slim shows no signs of slowing down, which is something we should all be grateful for.
The Highway Is My Home, on Evidence Records, is a nice place to start. His release for Rooster Blues, Grand Slam, is one of his best, and included a couple of his earlier singles when it was finally released on CD in the late 90's.
Live at the Zoo Bar series, recorded over the late 80's and early 90's, featuring his early band through the Primer era. Not only do you get a sampling of most of Slim's earlier bands, but you also get a sampling of his huge repertoire. There's also a Teardrops Blues Jam CD, that features tracks with other band members taking the spotlight, another great live set called 44 Blues, and several excellent studio albums, like The Blues of the Magic Man. You can't go wrong with any of the Wolf albums.
Gravel Road, taking center stage several times. The remainder of these releases included a trio of fantastic Dick Shurman-produced efforts (Scufflin', Black Tornado and Snakebite) that rank with his best ever, plus a Papa Chubby-produced release (Blue Magic) that attempted to update Slim's sound a bit (with mixed results), a live CD/DVD set (Anything Can Happen), the requisite guest star-laden affair (Midnight Blues), to his latest release (Raising the Bar), which is as good as anything he's ever done. See what I mean....it's nearly impossible to pick a favorite because they are ALL great.