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Lightnin' Slim moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the age of thirteen. Taught guitar by his older brother Layfield, Slim was playing in bars in Baton Rouge by the late 1940s.
He debuted on J. D. "Jay" Miller's Feature Records label in 1954 with "Bad Luck Blues" ("If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all"). Slim then recorded for Excello Records for twelve years, starting in the mid 1950s.
Slim took time off from the blues for a period of time and ended up working in a foundry in Pontiac, Michigan, which resulted in him suffering from constantly having his hands exposed to high temperatures. He was re-discovered by Fred Reif in 1970, in Pontiac, where he was living in a rented room at Slim Harpo's sister's house. Reif soon got him back performing again and a new recording contract with Excello, this time through Bud Howell, the present President of the company. His first gig was a reunion concert at the 1971 University of Chicago Folk Festival with Lazy Lester, whom Reif had brought from Baton Rouge in January 1971.
In the 1970s, Slim performed on tours in Europe, both in the United Kingdom and at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland where he was often accompanied by Moses "Whispering" Smith on harmonica. He last toured the UK in 1973, with the American Blues Legends package. In July 1974, Slim died of stomach cancer in Detroit, Michigan, aged 61.
Slim has been cited as a major influence by several contemporary blues artists, including Captain Beefheart, who in a 1987 radio interview with Kristine McKenna, stated that Lightnin' Slim was the only artist he could recommend somebody listening to.
Blues critic Ed Denson has ranked him as one of the five great bluesmen of the 1950s, along with Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson. Read more about Lightnin' Slim on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.
Gear used by Lightnin' Slim
Lightnin' Slim links
1913-03-13 to 1974-07-27