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Magic Slim (who?), Rick Springfield (why?) and Other Stuff

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I heard a news cast this morning (Friday) that set me back half a step. Morris "Magic Slim" Holt, a classic Chicago style bluesman, passed away Thursday in Philladelphia at the age of 75, following surgery for a bleeding ulcer. Slim is a hard duck to describe. A contemporary of his boyhood friend Magic Sam, he came to Chicago as part of Sam's band, playing bass. He's behind Sam here.....

(Sets a good bottom here, but nothing earth shaking.)

Slim started out as a piano player in Mississippi, but lost the pinky finger of his right hand in a cotton gin, and took up guitar. Moving to Chicago as a part of Magic Sam's band, he took up bass because he wasn't really a very good guitar player, and couldn't hold a candle to the powerful guitarists in Chicago's south side.

And he knew it. Moving back south, he played in the juke joints, honing his skill, returning to Chicago in '66, a truely competetive guitar player, with his band, The Teardrops, becoming the house band at Florence's Lounge.

Now about that time....maybe a bit earlier....the first blues revival was hitting the states, powered in part by the British blues bands that were beginning to come across the pond, influencing many young, white blues players and making household names of people like Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, Magic Sam and others, a trend that Slim didn't take advantage of. First, he was too new of the scene, and besides, he had steady work, pumping out stuff like this:

One of the advantage of the first blues revival of the 60's is that it was pure. It spawned bands like Segal-Schwall and the Butterfield Blues Band, who did NOT generally play R&B, but stuck to traditional style blues.

Note please that this was different from the "second" blues revival, spurred by "The Blues Brothers" movie in 1980. Damn shame, that revival what should have been more accurately described as an "R&B Revival". Nothing against Jake and Elwood, but (without knocking either the Five Du-Tones or James And Bobby Purify) THIS: NOT the blues, and any of the current crop of (mostly white) "Blues" bands who perform things like "Funky Nassau" should be taken out and shot. Yea, I'm a purist.

And that's the one thing Magic Slim did not do, give in to the temptation to update his sound. Pretty much through his recording career, starting with Alligator and from 1990 to his passing with Blind Pig Records, he stuck true to his roots.

These kind of guys with their kind of influence can't be replaced. Every time one dies, a little piece of the music goes with them.

While we're on such happy subjects, Kevin Ayres, bass player and primary songwriter for the legendary British psych band Soft Machine, passed away Monday. He was 68. I'm going to leave it to Wiki to sum up his extensive career here:

....if because I only know bits and pieces of it, but the pieces I know are truely impressive. Alas, thee isn't a goo You Tube version of my favorite Soft Machine cut, "We Did Ti Again", but "Lady Rachael", off his solo "Joy Of A Toy" is most impressive.... is most of his catalogue. A man whose influence stretches way beyond his commercial appear.

Now (finally) some brighter stuff. Remember this guy?

Yes, him. What's his name. Rick something. Sorry, I never watched soap operas, but I actually do like Rick Springfield. Don't know why, and I can't find anybody who will admit to liking him out in public, but you know you're out there. Well, Rick's touring a new LP, "Songs For The End Of The World". I believe this is the featured cut....

....and I haven't listened to the whole LP, but what I've heard is vintage Springfield. There is just something about the guy, in an Bryan Adams sort of way. Example? Listen to the crowd in this Adams concert.

Now catch the audience reaction to Springfield (with Dave Grohl's new band) at last year's Sundance Film Festival.

Maybe I should do a blog about great concert singalongs. In any case, Rick's going to be at the Snoqualmie Casino Ballroom in North Bend on March 10th. $47 to $68. It's a Sunday night, so ask your mother if you can stay out late on a school night. Should be a fun show.