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Baby So Long

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Album Review

The music of Amos Easton (Bumble Bee Slim) provides a neat bridge between Southern country blues and the urban Chicago-style blues that featured tight, propulsive combos. Slim wasn't as edgy as Big Bill Broonzy, say, or Muddy Waters, but he was every bit a modernist, allowing his easy, laconic vocal style to bring tremendous warmth, humor, and personality to his material, making songs like "Everybody's Fishing" or the loose and breezy "I Done Lost My Baby" (both included here) almost impossible to resist. Also included here is a glimpse of the nascent Bumble Bee Slim on one of his signature songs, "No Woman No Nickel." Slim seldom played guitar on his records, and on "No Woman" you see why, as he alternates between dexterity and nearly breaking down on guitar as he winds his way through the lyrics, ultimately making the unsteadiness into a sort of endearing virtue. A prolific writer, Slim could be resigned ("Back in Jail Again"), delightfully goofy ("Greasy Greens"), or eerily modern ("Slave Man Blues," which features a bold jazz arrangement, complete with clarinet lines by Arnett Nelson), always with the hint of a wink in his vocals. This collection lacks too many essentials ("Bricks in My Pillow," "When the Music's Good," "The Death of Leroy Carr") to be an ideal introduction to this charming bluesman, but it has enough solid tracks to make it a fine supplemental choice. Serious listeners may want to invest in the nine-disc Complete Recordings from Document Records.

Biography

Born: 07 May 1905 in Brunswick, GA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Popular and prolific, Bumble Bee Slim parlayed a familiar but rudimentary style into one of the earliest flowerings of the Chicago style. Much of what he performed he adapted from the groundbreaking duo Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell -- Slim built on Carr's laconic, relaxed vocal style and Blackwell's guitar technique. During the mid-'30s, Bumble Bee Slim recorded a number of sides for a variety of labels, including Bluebird, Vocalion, and Decca, becoming one of the most-recorded bluesmen of the...
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Baby So Long, Bumble Bee Slim
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