Magic Slim & The Teardrops

Magic Slim & The Teardrops
Bad Boy

Blind Pig Records

By Georgetown Fats
October 2012

With its simplistic chord progressions and song structure, blues as a musical style and genre are extremely repetitive in nature. Given the prevalence of legions of musicians looking to replicate the “Chicago Blues Sound,” the Chicago Blues sound is also growing quite stale. It seems like every time I am ready to discredit a band or an artist that touts their Chicago roots, Magic Slim & The Teardrops release another disc and remind me that although a lot of the Chicago greats may be gone, Magic Slim & The Teardrops are not trying to replicate the Chicago Blues greats, Magic Slim & The Teardrops are a great blues band especially when working that Chicago blues sound.

As expected with all Magic Slim & The Teardrops releases, Bad Boy opens in a bombastic manner and provides a healthy dose of cover songs and original material.

Eddie Taylor’s “Bad Boy” is the opening track to Bad Boy. After the requisite guitar intro, The Teardrops rhythm section of Andre’ Howard on bass and BJ Jones lay down an irresistibly danceable shuffle groove in which guitarist Job MacDonald and Magic Slim pepper with just enough rhythm and lead guitar to fill enough of the space without getting in the way. From there, Magic Slim calls out Eddie Taylor’s lyrics with Slim’s well-weathered leathery baritone vocals.

On “Someone Else is Steppin’ In” bassist Howard adds a verse of vocals in addition to his bass duties. The slight deviation from the standard Magic Slim & The Teardrops musical formula adds a well-received musical counterpoint with Slim as Howard has a somewhat higher vocal register than Slim. This tweak in the formula too is also successful as the groove is never overshadowed.

Bad Boy is closed out with the instrumental titled “Country Joyride.” From what I gather, with the few vocals tacked onto the instrumental is one of Magic Slim’s used to close out the show. Once again in lesser musical hands “Country Joyride” would come off as tired musical schlock but not only will I admit to Magic Slim & The Teardrops being able to get away with what is cliché but “Country Joyride” won’t be a track I can play at any volume during my commute as it is easy to hear how this foot-stomping musical good time could lead to high speeds and absently weaving through traffic while behind the wheel.

In addition to the tracks singled out; Magic Slim also covers Muddy Waters, Lil Ed Williams, Albert King and J.B. Lenoir classics on Bad Boy. Congratulations to Magic Slim & The Teardrops and the folks at Blind Pig for yet another spectacular release. Let’s hope someday if there is a Chicago Blues for Dummies manual that Bad Boy or any other of Magic Slim & The Teardrops recordings are included as they prove on Bad Boy that it is not enough to just replicate the greats of Chicago, but you also have to own the material.

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