Magic Slim, a younger contemporary of blues greats Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf who helped shape the sound of Chicago's electric blues, died Thursday, February 21. Marty Salzman, his manager, reported the bluesman died shortly after midnight at age of 75 at a hospital in Philadephia.
The musician died while being under treatment for various ailments. He had health problems that got worsened while he was on tour several weeks ago in Pennsylvania. He was hospitalized for respiratory problems, bleeding ulcers and other complications before was later transferred to Philadephia.
Magic Slim, whose given name was Morris Holt, was born in Missisipi in 1937 and grew up in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta. He switched from piano to guitar after he lost his little finger on his right hand to a cotton gin.
Magic Slim and his band, the Teardrops, performed Chicago-style electric blues. Being led by Slim's singing and guitar playing, they were regulars on the music festival circuit. His influence on the blues ran deep and along with his band, they had been described as "the last real Chicago blues band."
"If you were going to take somebody who'd never seen blues to one of their shows, it would be like putting them in a time machine and putting them in 1962," Salzman said. "No frills, no rock 'n' roll. It was just straight-ahead, real-deal blues."
Magic Slim and the Teardrops was scheduled to perform at the Kalamazoo State Theatre on March 1 as part of the WRKR-FM/Budweiser Blues Series. Due to the star's death, the venue replaced them with Chicago's Nick Moss & The Flip Tops.