Back To Reviews page

Magic Slim & The Teardrops - Midnight Blues

Blind Pig Music

It’s no surprise that Midnight Blues is a great album. Do a google search for Morris “Magic Slim” Holt and you’ll see the phrase “living legend” used with some frequency. Where the six-time Blues Music Award-winning Slim does surprise us is in the fact that on an album full of classic tunes written by the likes of Muddy Waters and Hound Dog Taylor, Slim’s original compositions are STILL among the strongest on the disc. No small feat indeed.

The result is the seamless pedigree of a true bluesman. Holt rips and roars his way through standards and originals with such aplomb that it’s difficult to consider any of the borrowed songs to be covers – channelings would be more accurate. “Give Me Back My Wig” is an obvious standout, a grime-caked rendition that rumbles with almost seismic force. Imagine Willie Dixon sung by a bear, and you’re getting close. Slim’s voice belies every single one of his seventy hard-fought years and is still no less powerful for them.

The self-professed owner of “the meanest vibrato in blues,” is equally epic in his guitar work. Sparse when it needs to be, dominating at all other times, the riffing on this album is on par with the greats, and Holt’s tone raises the question as to why Gibsons aren’t the only guitars made. Although several of Midnight Blues’ tracks clock in over the 4:30 mark, none of them go on longer than they should – Slim’s playing is consistently engaging. Similarly, not enough good can be said about the Teardrops. Unlike many “and the” bands, The ‘Drops aren’t simply adequate and unassuming – they’re as much of the experience as Slim is. One even gets the feeling that The ‘Drops are a big part of the reason that Holt is still rocking at a spry seventy years. With a band this tight, who’s got time to slow down? Throw in guest appearances by modern Blues legends Lonnie Brooks and Elvin Bishop James Cotton, Lil' Ed, Otis Clay, and George Barge and the Teardrops have never sounded better.

If one has ever seen Slim in concert, then one can attest to the fact that his albums do an admirable job of capturing the intensity of his live performances. Midnight Blues is particularly adept in this department, as producer Nick Moss leaves every granule of grit in Slim’s voice and guitar. Whereas some argue that blues vocals have suffered recently as a result of the ultra-clean sound of digital recording, Moss uses the opportunity to give Slim’s gravelly baritone a booming clarity that lets one fully enjoy one of the best voices in blues today.

Simply put, Midnight Blues is a blast from start to finish. As the true bluesmen slowly fade away, Magic Slim remains a national treasure – not only for the caliber of his musicianship, but also for the sheer amount of fun that’s very obviously being had by anyone in his immediate vicinity.

by John McCormick

To submit a review or interview please contact:


Home  |  Contact  |  Submit Your Blues News - Advertise with
 Copyright - 2007 - Design by: