Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Raising the Bar reviewed by Steve Jones

Raising the Bar

Magic Slim and the Teardrops
Blind Pig Records
http://www.blindpigrecords/. com
11 tracks

The arrival of a new Magic Slim CD is always a welcome event. This CD, his tenth with Blind Pig in his 20 year tenure there, is a superb mix of new and old. The album title is commensurate with what Slim and his band consistently do- raise the bar of expectations for themselves and other blues bands.

Slim’s original favorites like “Do You Mean It”, “Shame”, "Treat Me The Way You Do” showcase Slim and his band, who are John MacDonald on guitar and background vocals, Andre Howard on bass and background vocals and BJ Jones of drums and background vocals. Slim is comfy with his own stuff, growling out the lyrics and spooning out note after greasy note. He is equally adept with the great covered material here. He opens to the bouncy and grooving “Part Time Love” by Clay Hammond and barks and growls his way through the dozen tracks with the ease and surety of the ultimate bluesman that he is. “Cummins Prison Farm” gives us some slow and angry blues, but the next song is J.B. Lenoir's “Mama Talk to Your Daughter” that raises the tempo and fever back up. Slim then wants to “talk to his baby” on Elmore James’ “I Can’t Hold Out”, another fine effort. “Sunny Road Blues” by Roosevelt Sykes brings things back down, and Slim finger picks it out with the best of them. Little Milton’s “4:59 A.M.” gets royal treatment, too, as do the other great covers.

As with all Magic Slim albums, true blues lovers needs to add this one to their collection. Slim and his touring band play and sing their hearts out. Blind Pig still runs the 5 CDs for $50 and free shipping special. With this and their other new stuff you can easily fill a shopping cart with great music!

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