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The Bluesman

Memphis Slim

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Album Review

Recorded in New York City during May and June of 1969, this excellent album reveals the very core of Memphis Slim's blues artistry. He kneads the piano and sings his heart out in front of a tough little band comprised of R&B tenor sax legend Eddie Chamblee, an unidentified organist, guitarist Billy Butler, bassist Lloyd Trotman, and drummer Herb Lovelle. An anonymous utility horn section shows up during the rocking "Sassy Mae." "Ramble This Highway" (better known as "Key to the Highway") was written by Jazz Gillum, "Rock Me Baby" is credited to Big Bill Broonzy, and the famous "Caldonia" was composed by Fleecie Moore. The rest of the material heard on this album comes straight out of Slim's catalog of original songs. Check out Slim's relaxed sermon on "Freedom" and his candid statement about having the blues because he is black. The jump tunes are fine but the cooler numbers are especially powerful. This will get right into the marrow of your bones before you know what's happening to you. Ideal music for making it through the workday, cooking a big dinner, driving down the freeway in a groove, or laying around doing nothing with a big smile on your face.

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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The Bluesman, Memphis Slim
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