Blues guitarist Magic Slim passed away in a Philadelphia hospital yesterday at the age of 75. Slim was influential in shaping the sound of electric blues in the Chicago music scene and is grouped with greats like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.
Slim, born Morris Holt, started out on piano, but later switched to guitar and even played bass with guitarist Magic Sam. He moved to Chicago in 1955, but didn’t stay in the competitive South Side blues scene long before returning home to Mississippi. While in Mississippi, he played small local gigs with his backing band, the Teardrops. They moved back to Chicago in the Sixties and began their recording career with the song “Scufflin’,” which eventually led to Slim’s first album, Born Under a Bad Sign, which was released in 1977. His latest album, Bad Boy, came out last year.
According to his manager, Slim had been dealing with increasing health problems. Slim was originally hospitalized for bleeding ulcers, but he also suffered from heart, lung and kidney ailments. He will be sorely missed by all of us here at Elmore and by blues fans everywhere.