Nalle, Magic Slim, Omar Dykes - Chapel Hill
Run Time: 43:07
Rarely do we get the chance to hear some of our electric guitar heroes unplug. To hear true mastery put on display. All the electrical sustains and tricks have to be made with the hands, fingers, and a flick of the wrist.
Acoustic, live music for blues is where it all began. The heroes and founders of this great American music didn’t have the luxury of microphones or amplifiers. They shouted and beat on their six strings harder and played with a necessity for strength and resonance.
Take 2 of well-known electric blues players (one THE premier Chicago Blues player) and put them in this all acoustic setting with Denmark’s largest link to American roots music. Chapel Hill thus becomes a comfortable acoustic jam in the studio for these three men: Nalle, Omar Dykes (Omar & the Howlers), and Magic Slim.
Slim brings along a few of his infamous Teardrops on this trip to Denmark (Jon McDonald on slide guitar on “Little Red Rooster” and Michael Blakemore on harmonica for “Love My Baby”). The rest of the musicians are highly touted American roots music players from Denmark. Mixing in banjo, stand up bass, harmonica, and National Steel slide at times; the album is mostly a two guitar approach with either Slim or Omar or both handling the duties. One or two of the three usually handled the vocals (Nalle sings 4, Omar sings 4, Omar & Nalle together on 1 duet, and Slim on 4).
Nalle, a name with which I wasn’t familiar until this album, has been a Blues, Rock, and Soul musician in Denmark since the late 60s. His passion for the music is obvious. Vocally he stands up well next to his two formidable American counterparts.
Some of the songs fall into similar vibes and grooves. Some of Omar Dykes vocal tracks sound like left overs from his On the Jimmy Reed Highway project from last year. Most of the tracks here are covers ranging from Willie Dixon, Luther Allison, Robert Nighthawk, and Junior Wells along with one Magic Slim original.
For traditional blues fans, this album should be a must have. It will likely fly under the radar here in the States because its only available overseas. However, this stripped down acoustic feel is a welcomed addition to Magic Slim’s daunting catalog. It’s also something that Magic Slim fans have never seen out of him, a completely acoustic, and no frills side. Go out and hunt this one down on the internet. You wont be sorry.
The album is an instant classic. Like the old days, this one is not sugar coated and doesn’t have any studio tricks. This is just the straight down home acoustic blues from one of America’s greatest Chicago Bluesmen with a little help from some friends.
Reviewer Ben Cox is a DJ, journalist and musician. Visit his Blues Blog at http://jukejointsoul.blogspot.com/