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Memphis Heat

Memphis Slim

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Album Review

Memphis Heat documents Chicago blues piano legend Memphis Slim's studio collaborations with the rock group Canned Heat in France on September 18, 1970, and July 11, 1973. The results are tasty indeed. Slim's voice and piano are well matched by Henry Vestine's electric guitar, Canned Heat's rockin' rhythm section, and (on six out of 13 tracks) the Memphis Horns, a solid wind quintet of trumpet, trombone, two tenors, and a baritone sax. Memphis Slim tried on a lot of different styles and instrumental combinations during the 1970s. His Canned Heat sessions have been both praised and panned over the years, a state of affairs that often revealed more about the reviewers than the music itself. A fair assessment should take into account the blues and rock scene of the early '70s, the pianist's artistic intentions as he capped a long and eventful career, and perhaps most importantly the positive effect that this music is likely to have upon any listener who loves a good jumpin' electric blues band. [The 2005 edition of the album included bonus tracks.]

Biography

Born: 03 September 1915 in Memphis, TN

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

An amazingly prolific artist who brought a brisk air of urban sophistication to his frequently stunning presentation, John "Peter" Chatman — better known as Memphis Slim — assuredly ranks with the greatest blues pianists of all time. He was smart enough to take Big Bill Broonzy's early advice about developing a style to call his own to heart, instead of imitating that of his idol, Roosevelt Sykes. Soon enough, other 88s pounders were copying Slim rather than the other...
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Memphis Heat, Memphis Slim
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