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Coyote Slim - South Bay Jive

Independent release

12 tracks/41:41

This disc provided several surprises. First, upon opening the cd case, I discovered that the review copy was a Memorex CDR with the title and artist’s name written on the disc in black marker. The accompanying booklet was printed on a regular home printer, with the inside blank. The cover photo of Coyote Slim shows him to be an average-looking white man, whose spectacles give him a bookish demeanor. My initial impression was none too favorable.

The second surprise was the amazing performances on the disc. Slim has an authentic blues voice, rich and powerful, sounding like he was born and raised in the heart of the Mississippi delta. He picks out captivating rhythms on his guitar that dance around his vocal lines. Slim penned seven of the tunes and most of them sound as good as the five classic songs that he covers.

He gives Big Bill Broonzy’s “Too Many Drivers” an energetic run-through and manages to inject some excitement in the classic “Rollin’ and Tumblin”’. Slim speeds up the tempo on “Milk Cow”, his deep voice riding the intrinsic slide lines he picks out on the guitar. His own “You Go On, Baby” is just as compelling a performance with it’s insistent rhythm and Slim’s gritty singing. “Slim’s Stomp” sports a Hooker-boogie beat while another original, “Hot Chile Mama”, features a booming vocal as Slim runs down the tale of a woman who is a magician with habanero peppers.

The disjointed rhythmic pattern on “Catfish Blues” could have been a distraction but Slim uses it to prove his skill as a singer, his voice commanding your attention in the midst of the musical mayhem. “Bay Area Busking Blues” is a brief comment on the best – and worst – towns for street musicians. He expresses his unhappiness with the holiday traffic in San Jose on “Cinco de Mayo Blues”.

Like the best acoustic bluesmen, Coyote Slim bends and stretches the standard blues formats into his own style. From one cut to the next, he dazzles you with outstanding guitar playing and a voice that was made for a juke joint. And the performances held up over repeated listens. Slim certainly made a believer out of me – and South Bay Jive is highly recommended!!!

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

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