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Magic Slim & The Teardrops

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 in a cotton gin mishap. Boyhood pal Magic Sam bestowed his magical moniker on the budding guitarist. Holt first came to Chicago in 1955, but found that breaking into the competitive local blues circuit was a tough proposition. Although he managed to secure a steady gig for a while with Robert Perkins' band (Mr. Pitiful & the Teardrops), Slim wasn't good enough to progress into the upper ranks of Chicago bluesdom.

So he retreated to Mississippi for a spell to hone his chops. When he returned to Chicago in 1965 (with brothers Nick and Lee Baby as his new rhythm section), Slim's detractors were quickly forced to change their tune. Utilizing the Teardrops name and holding onto his Magic Slim handle, the big man cut a couple of 45s for Ja-Wes and established himself as a formidable force on the South Side. His guitar work dripped vibrato-enriched nastiness and his roaring vocals were as gruff and uncompromising as anyone's on the scene. All of a sudden, the recording floodgates opened up for the Teardrops in 1979 after they cut four tunes for Alligator's Living Chicago Blues anthology series. After that, a series of tough-as-nails albums for Rooster Blues, Alligator, and a slew for the Austrian Wolf logo fattened Slim's discography considerably.

The Teardrops weathered a potentially devastating change when longtime second guitarist John Primer cut his own major-label debut for Code Blue, but with Slim and bass-wielding brother Nick Holt still on board, it became doubtful that the quartet's overall sound would change dramatically in Primer's absence. In 1996, Slim signed with Blind Pig and cut some of the most celebrated albums of his career, including Scufflin' in 1996, Black Tornado in 1998, Snakebite in 2000, and Blue Magic in 2002. A live recording taped in 2005 at the Sierra Nevada Brewery was released that same year on both DVD and CD as Anything Can Happen. Tin Pan Alley, a set of recordings made between 1992 and 1998 in Chicago and Europe, was released in 2006 by Austria's Wolf Records. Midnight Blues appeared in 2008, followed by Raising the Bar in 2010. Bad Boy, a collection of covers given the Magic Slim makeover, hit the streets in 2012. However, while on tour with the Teardrops in January 2013, Slim experienced breathing difficulties and was hospitalized first in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and then in Philadelphia; he died there on February 20, 2013 at the age of 75. ~ Bill Dahl & Al Campbell, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Great to see references to The Zoo Bar here.He was never better than on that stage!!
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Blues is good for the SOUL!
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What's not to love about this pairing? A great loss to the blues and music in general!
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saw him @ Blue Chicago in '95 jeez 20 yrs gone wow
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Was introduced to him through James Solberg (Band leader for Luther Allison's band) and was in awe the first time I saw him...REAL blues...
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lucretia_sf
I miss him!!! Had the pleasure of seeing him several time - no one else like him and such a sweet man too.
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I. Seen slim November. 2012. At. Callahans
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greg.fechik
In Slims heyday when he still lived in Chicago in the 80's I probably saw him 100 times at a dump called B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted St. He never failed to mention from the bandstand when I had a date. I always brought out of town visitors to see Slim so he could show them what a real bluesman and guitarist sounded like. Truly good times. I still miss him. Fortunately John Primer is still going strong.
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curly432003
Rip Magic Silm and Lee Baby
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This gentleman, I'm a True , Blues man. It sounds , so good. My first listen, Not my last.
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Magic/Slim was welder before becoming a full time player....an d every time I saw him and it was a LOT He brought that same fire in his playing....a true American Original!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ¡
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Seen the magic three times. Well in his 70s he ROCKS! Autographed a CD.for me 2
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dove14576
love it! gonna buy me a toolbox
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hahaha
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damn
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awesome
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lol
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yup
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Just added to the bucket list ( visit ZOO BAR )
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A REAL BLUESMAN!!!!
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The Zoo Bar has not been the same without Larry and Slim.
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very good
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Almost anniversary of his death. May he live forever in our hearts!
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Thats so funny chrisin8019: ) Lol. Needed a good laugh. I love singing the blues. Its my medication. :)
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Blues singers sure do love hound dogs..I think that's the only pet u can have if your a blues singer
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Memphis blues
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tomhamilton4 2 not exactly but similar ;)
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Sounds like srv
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damn my man is on the roll
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Amazing bluesman …a real kool singer and man….I like him a lot… and his spirit… He was a real
ICON in the blues world but not too many knew but he was a Chicago man and that is where the blues lives…… R I P SLIM xo
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Good sounding blues by another blues player mainstream music lover's didn't know about RIP...
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arossschreib e r
I truly miss my friend, neighbor and Brother Mason, Morris "Magic Slim" Holt. His Thanksgiving and Christmas Night shows at the Zoo Bar here in Lincoln, NE were legendary. His passion for passing on the Blues led to his often calling local friends, artists and Blues Ed kids up to sit in with him when he was home from touring with the Teardrops and playing the Zoo Bar with his son, Lil Slim and his band backing him. I'll never forget three years ago, eating Thanksgiving dinner at Morris' place wi
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good blues
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mikepressley
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you were a dumbass back then
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I was so stupid back in the 70s when I thought it had to be rock or I wasn't interested. I missed so many great ones by not going to blues shows. Now that rock is basically dead I have gotten into the blues heavily. Wished I could have seen him.
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Love this song! Teri and Travis...for e v e r ! ! ! !
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jeff.jonas
Grew up with Magic playing the Zoo Bar in Lincoln Ne, Turned me on to the blues and for thatI am eternally grateful. Will miss the big man.
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dems da blues...
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Had the chance to see him at Bonita Blues Fest 2012. RIP Magic Man.
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One of the Best performance wise EVER playing the Blues!!!!
Magic Fred
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I've seen him play many times! Great man and great Bluesman! R.I.P. Slim
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Like skating on thin ice. Gliding smoothly but waiting to fall in
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jpfiredude
Another great Blues Man gone by the wayside. Thanks for the great music. Because of it, you'll never really be gone. RIP Magic Slim.
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R.I.P. Magic Slim. His blues energy will be missed.
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shared a few 4 finger swigs w/ the Magic man in MadTown back in the early 80's......ro c k i n O'Cayz Corral...... . . t h e big man can sure play...one of the very best.....
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Seen Magic Slim several times. Never been disappointed . He is in the top tier of bluesmen around today.
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mrschaffins
HAPPY BIRTHDAY love your music
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Just saw him last week at Bonita (FL) Blues Fest. Has slowed down with age, but the man can still play.
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I used to party with these guys at club in Lincoln Ne., where he now lives what a good time that was.
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