November 3rd, 2006
Good things come to those who wait, but it is a crime to have had to wait almost thirty years for the release of these 1977 recordings of Chicago blues powerhouse Magic Slim & the Teardrops on That Ain’t Right. This was supposed to have been Magic Slim & the Teardrops American debut album, having been organized by veteran Chicago producer Ralph Bass and Henry Stone (of Miami’s TK Records) back in 1977. The blues business being what it is, the album never made it to the shelves. Thanks to the fine people at Delmark, we now have this recording back on the shelves and back in its original form. The 1977 recording had been modified in post production to give Slim’s guitar a cleaner, more conservative tone. Unfortunately, this took away his signature gritty sound, which is the very heart of the heavy, electric Chicago blues style. Thanks to some expert remastering, Delmark is able to send this legendary Chicago blues guitarist’s infamous tone and biting vibrato straight to our doors just as it would have been heard from Slim’s amplifier. It is worth every note.
Another victim of the delayed release of the 1977 Ralph Bass recording sessions was Joe Carter. By contrast to Magic Slim’s howling tone, this CD closes out with Joe Carter and his Elmore James/T-Bone Walker style of vintage Chicago blues. Carter’s slide guitar playing is smooth and impeccable—a true tribute to Elmore James—and he really shines on covers of “Stormy Monday” and “I’m Worried.” This is one of only two sessions Carter ever recorded and it features Lacy Gibson, guitar; Sunnyland Slim, piano; Willie Black, bass; and Fred Below, drums. Unlike Magic Slim, Carter did little after these 1977 sessions since health problems forced him out of the clubs of Chicago. He passed away in 2001 and these recordings will make you take notice and miss the music lost. As for the delay of the release of these recordings, I believe the album title says it all—That Ain’t Right.
Posted by Christopher Mulé
Review Genre(s): Blues