Magic Slim & the Teardrops - Going to Mississippi

This big man of the blues was born Morris Holt in Torrence, Mississippi on August 7th, 1937.  His mother and father were sharecroppers; they lived on a farm and they all would get up early in the mornings and slop the hogs, feed the chickens, catch the mule and go out into the fields. "I still had to go to the field until I got age enough to leave home.  I got little jobs around there when I was 13 and that was when I got my hand hurt.  I hurt it in a cotton gin. I was at the gin and my hand got caught on a piece of wire going up in there, and I grabbed it and before I could turn it loose, I lost my little pinky finger."  Slim showed his musical talents early, singing in his church choir and playing piano.  After his accident he couldn't play the piano anymore because he didn't have that little pinky finger so he picked up the guitar.  He made his first guitar out of bailing wire from a broom, which he nailed to a wall.  "My Mama whopped me when I tore up her broom," he said, "but she let me keep on using it.  My Mama said later that if she had known what I'd be into later, she wouldn't have given me a whopping."

It was in 1955 when Slim made his first trip to Chicago, to play for Magic Sam, a friend of his from home.  Magic Sam also gave Slim tips on playing the guitar, and it was Sam who called his bass player "Magic Slim," because back then Slim was lean and tall and he learned from Sam quickly.  Sam told Slim to develop his own guitar style.  "Magic Sam told me, don't try to play like him, and don't try to play like no one else; he said get a sound of your own."  Slim did get a sound of his own; his guitar tone is tough and cutting, united with a virbato formed by his fingers against the strings to reproduce the sound of a slide guitar while still being able to bend the note.  Slim said, "I slide with my finger.  I use nothing on my finger, a lot of players try to get a sound like me and I play the same guitar everybody else plays."

He passed away on February 21, 2013.

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