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Watermelon Slim and the Workers - No Paid Holidays

(NorthernBlues Music)

Bill “Watermelon Slim” Homans has built a career in the blues in a relatively short span of time, releasing four albums in the last five years and touring constantly. Slim sings, plays Dobro slide guitar and harp, and has the kind of life story that could only be lived and not fictionalized. He learned to play in an Army hospital after enlisting in the Vietnam-era military, with a Zippo lighter as a slide. Since then, he has been a truck driver, watermelon farmer (hence the name), a funeral officiator, and a small-time crook. He also has two Masters degrees, one in history and one in journalism. In the early part of our new century, Slim suffered a near-fatal heart attack and refocused his life on the blues. His latest record, No Paid Holidays, shows Slim and his band at their best over the course of 14 tracks of funky, deep-down, play-it-like-you-mean-it blues that would certainly rock any house in the world.

Slim is raw and no one will ever mistake his voice for B.B. King’s, but his rough edges only add to his charm. Slim is the kind of wild-eyed American musical visionary this country used to breed in bunches and that has been in woefully short supply as of late. Technical perfection fades in the name of heart, groove, and sincerity, which is as it should be, and Slim radiates that “X” factor that makes it all ok. From the fun and funk of “Call My Job” to the deep “Bloody Burmese Blues”, Slim sings it as he has lived it and that is what makes No Paid Holidays so instantly appealing. The disc packs just the right amount of city, swamp, juke joint, and back porch to appeal to a wide range of blues fans. Although he is new on the scene, Watermelon Slim is an all-night worker and could end up a favorite of many long-time roots-music supporters.

Mike O'Cull

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