Magic Slim and the Teardrops
One listen to Grand Slam and youll realize that, despite numerous personnel changes over the years, little has changed about Slims vision of the blues. Its still a hard-driving, tough-as-nails approach. As usual, most of the songs are covers (Slims repertoire is second-to-none), including "Walking the Dog," "Fannie Mae," "Give Me Back My Wig," and Magic Sams "She Belongs to Me." These songs are all familiar, but the Teardrops bring something a little different to each one of them. Slims originals are mostly instrumental, but there is an early version of "Scufflin." Two of the instrumentals, "Slammin" and "1823 South Michigan Avenue," really display the talents of second guitarist Pete Allen. The first 11 tracks were produced by ONeal, Amy van Singel, and Mick and Cilla Huggins, and they have that "live in the studio" sound that is found on all Rooster Blues recordings.
In addition, Rooster Blues has added three songs from Magic Slims first session, recorded in 1975 at Chess Records Ter-Mar studio and produced by Steve Cushing, then the Teardrops drummer and presently the host of the "Blues Before Sunrise" syndicated radio program. These tracks, originally released on the Mean Mistreater label, show that even in their early stages, the Teardrops had that patented Chicago sound down pat.
Grand Slam offers nothing new to those who are already familiar with Magic Slim and the Teardrops, but it shows that Slim had everything he needed in place when he got started. This is Chicago blues at its finest.
--- Graham Clarke
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