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Tin Pan Alley

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Album Review

Although Mississippi born, Magic Slim (Morris Holt) plays Chicago blues, pure and simple. His gruff, Howlin' Wolf-styled vocals are as constant and as powerful as the wind off of Lake Michigan, and his bright, brittle, and biting lead guitar lines sting like the first hard frost of winter, then turn and brilliantly fuss under his vocals until it's time to sting again. A set of classic Slim, Tin Pan Alley was recorded between 1992 and 1998 in Chicago and various spots in Europe, with the domestic dates featuring his brother Nick Holt on bass, John Primer on second guitar, and Earl Howell on drums, while the overseas sessions substitute in Michael Dotson on second guitar and Allen Kirk on drums. The personnel changes don't matter one bit, since everything chugs along on Slim's singing and guitar playing anyway, and the set is darn near seamless. Highlights include the ragged and brisk "Please Don't Leave Me," a solid "Texas Flood," a live take on "Tin Pan Alley," and textbook covers of B.B. King's "Bad Luck," Willie Dixon's "Close to You," Albert King's "Goin' to California," and Mack Rice's "Cold Women with Warm Hearts." It all adds up to nearly an hour's worth of modern Chicago blues with no tricks and no frills, or in other words, exactly what you'd expect from Magic Slim.

Customer Reviews


I heard this on iheart radio. I love his raw blues sound.


I fell in love, this is great music.


Born: August 7, 1937 in Torrence, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Magic Slim & the Teardrops proudly upheld the tradition of what a Chicago blues band should sound like. Their emphasis on ensemble playing and a humongous repertoire that allegedly ranged upwards of a few hundred songs gave the towering guitarist's live performances an endearing off-the-cuff quality: you never knew what obscurity he'd pull out of his oversized hat next. Born Morris Holt on August 7, 1937, the Mississippi native was forced to give up playing the piano when he lost his little finger...
Full Bio
Tin Pan Alley, Magic Slim
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