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Going Back to Tennessee

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Album Review

Memphis Slim was immensely proud of this album, the first he ever made in his home state of Tennessee. It was recorded at Wayne Moss' Cinderella Studio, a converted garage in Madison, a suburb of Nashville perched between two lakes, in February of 1975. Backed by seven of the area's top session men led by harmonica ace Charlie McCoy, Slim sounds perfectly at home with pedal steel guitar and clavinet. This chapter in Memphis Slim's career combines elements of country and Southern rock with the funky big blues revue sound of the mid-'70s, as background female soul vocals were added later during follow-up production in Bogalusa, LA. The lead singer was Geraldine "Sister Gerry" Richard of Baton Rouge. What you encounter here is much different from Slim's earlier gutsy Arkansas/Mississippi/Chicago piano persona. He enjoys himself fully in the presence of this polished Nashville production team, yodeling on "Blues Cowboy," and carrying on happily, making all kinds of offhand remarks during "Shake That Thing," a song dating back to the mid-'20s. This band rocked wonderfully thanks to the combination of electric guitarists Dale Sellers and Reggie Young and bassist Henry Strzlecki, known in Nashville as the South Pole. Two bonus tracks include "Jerusalem," a gospel-tinged rumination featuring David Briggs on the Hammond B-3 organ.


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 way around; his thundering...
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Going Back to Tennessee, Memphis Slim
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