The Essential Magic Slim

  • 2007
  • The Essential Magic Slim
  • Magic Slim
  • Blind Pig Records


Reviewing this album was easy, since I am familiar with the six Magic Slim albums from which its cuts are taken. In fact, I fantasized reviewing it before even listening to it. After listening, my actual review is no different than the imagined one. This is great stuff!

Magic Slim’s music is not subtle. It is bar band, dancing, beer-swilling, good time electric blues, pulsating and infectious. Each cut is driven by an impeccable rhythm section, and Sam’s lead guitar is stinging, powerful, and inventive. There are covers of classic tunes by Bo Diddley (“Before You Accuse Me”) and Howlin’ Wolf (“How Many More Years”) and, of course, the venerable chestnut “Mustang Sally,” as well as multiple originals. Most cuts are uptempo Chicago stylings or shuffles, but the potential uniformity is relieved by slower numbers like the humorous “Crazy Woman” (“I gotta buy me a toolbox/Cause I think she’s got some screws loose”).

Every year the Blues Foundation nominates only 5 blues bands in the U.S. for Best Blues Band of the year. For 9 out of the last 11 years Magic Slim and the Teardrops have been nominated — a record no other band can equal — and they won the award in 2003. They played for the Santa Barbara Blues Society in December 2005 and tore the house down. Local critic Josef Woodard lauded the show as “steamy, authentic, inspired…played with a raw fervor.” Any one of their albums closely reproduces the excitement of their live shows, and this one provides the cream of the crop. It’s an excellent introduction to a consistently terrific band.