Review: Magic Slim & John Primer – Slow Blues


Magic Slim & John Primer - Slow Blues

Magic Slim & John Primer – Slow Blues
Format: CD / Label: Wolf Records International GmbH
Release: 2024

Text: Pascal Wilhelm

The slow blues. The pinnacle of the genre. Relatively easy to play, but so hard to do it with credibility. Only few can play it well. I remember witnessing Buddy Guy singing “Nineteen years old” in his own club in Chicago. A local band backing him up, Buddy taking the stage, wineglass in his hand, no guitar, and singing about a too young lover. So sensual, sexual, the crowd went mad. He could really DO it.

But no one would think of making a whole record with only slow blues songs, right? Well, Hannes Folterbauer of Wolf Records did. Sixteen (!) slow blues tracks featuring John Primer and Magic Slim.

Hannes once witnessed a Magic Slim & The Teardrops show in the Wise Fools Pub in Chicago and was hooked. A profound partnership emerged from their encounter.

John Primer also recorded a great deal of his good work for Wolf records, including a “best of” called “When they call me John Primer.” Primer has an impressive record as a sideman being a band leader of Muddy Water’s band and Magic Slim’s band The Teardrops. Thirteen years they spent by each other’s side, receiving three Blues Music Awards for album of the year and two nominations for band of the year.

Mentored by Magic Sam, Magic Slim developed an equally impressive career including over thirty record releases. He died in 2013 and was posthumously inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame in 2017.

But what to say about this record with these two greats? Well, it’s mostly live, and played in the most profound Chicago style. The record allows you to focus on the storytelling. Of course, there is room for soloing, but where modern bands sometimes use the slow blues as a vehicle for displaying instrumental virtuosity, Primer and Slim strike the right balance here and let you experience the real thing. Like Buddy, they can really DO the slow thang.

01. You Put It On Me – Magic Slim (Quincy Jones/Maya Angelou)
02. 1839 Blues – John Primer (Elmore James)
03. So Easy To Love You – Magic Slim (Carey Bell)
04. I Wonder Who (Who’s Gonna Be Your Sweet Man) – John Primer (McKinley Morganfield)
05. Bad Avenue – Magic Slim (Walter Williams)
06. Country Boy – John Primer (McKinley Morganfield)
07. Just To Be With You – Magic Slim (Bernard Roth)
08. Blues Behind Closed Doors – John Primer (John Primer)

09. She’s Too Much – John Primer (John Funchess)
10. When I Met My Baby – Magic Slim (Morris Holt)
11. Double Trouble – John Primer (Otis Rush)
12. You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had – Magic Slim (McKinley Morganfield)
13. I’m A Bluesman* – John Primer (John Primer)
14. Please Don’t Dog Me – Magic Slim (Morris Holt)
15. Take The Bitter With The Sweet – John Primer
(James Oden)
16.Hard Luck Blues– Magic Slim (Roy Brown)