Magic Slim brings the blues to Big Cities

Magic Slim brings the blues to Big Cities


Got a taste for some real, honest blues guitar and vocals? Come to Big Cities on Thursday, Nov. 15 and hear the best—Magic Slim and the Teardrops. They’ll be performing from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., with a $10 cover charge.

Morris Holt, a.k.a. Magic Slim, was born in Torrence, Miss. in 1937 and took an early interest in music, singing in the church choir. His first love was piano, but after losing the little finger on his right hand in an accident, he switched to guitar. He worked in the fields during the week and played the blues at house parties on weekends.

At age 11, he moved to Grenada, Miss., where he became friends with Magic Sam (who, years later in Chicago, gave him the name Magic Slim). Sam gave Slim some pointers on guitar when they were still youngsters. On his first trip to Chicago in 1955, Sam hired him to play bass in his band; then Slim returned to Mississippi for five more years, perfecting his craft before coming back to Chicago.

He gained national and international attention when he began playing regularly at Florence’s on Chicago’s south side in 1972, filling in occasionally for Hound Dog Taylor. Eventually, he took over the gig when Hound Dog moved on to a more lucrative career on the road. He formed his own band, the Teardrops, consisting of his younger brothers, Nick (on bass) and Douglas (drums), along with Junior Pettis on rhythm guitar. Slim’s rough-edged, slide guitar playing, with a pounding bass line overlaid with his fiery guitar riffs and gruff, good-natured vocals, made him a perfect complement to the often rowdy atmosphere at Florence’s.

To Europe and Brazil

Later, Slim left Florence’s to launch a career that has taken him across the country and overseas, where he is even better known than in the U.S. In 1989, he toured Europe, Japan and Brazil, becoming an instant hero in Brazil. He opened up for Buddy Guy, Etta James and Albert Collins on the first blues festival staged in Brazil, where the media said he stole the show. He also appeared on television there and in dozens of magazine and newspaper articles. In 1990, he returned, selling out venues in four cities. In 1994, Eddie Vedder personally selected the band to open a show for Pearl Jam at the New Regal Theater.

Slim cut a record for Wolf Records in Germany while touring in 1990 and again in 1991. Both were awarded the W.C. Handy Award for the best foreign traditional blues record for the years 1990 and 1991. He then recorded Gravel Road for Blind Pig Records, which was very well acclaimed.

Magic Slim & the Teardrops have been nominated in the W.C. Handy Blues Awards for “Blues Band of the Year” for the past three years in a row. This exclusive category only nominates the top six bands each year.

His latest album for Blind Pig Records, Snakebite, released in April 2000, is receiving great reviews and high praise. His brother, Nick Holt, is still playing the pounding bass lines. Michael Dotson took over the 2nd guitar position, replacing John Primer, who left. An explosive drummer, Allen Kirk, fills out the roster and complements the others. Magic Slim and the Teardrops are a no-frills, in-your-face, house-rockin’ Chicago blues band not to be missed.

Come to Big Cities at 905 E. State St. and stay to hear the best blues in town!

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