<back - MEMPHIS SLIM - Memphis Slim would take the Blues to places it never imagined. He was a prolific author of many enduring classics of the Blues lexicon, including Mother Earth, Everyday I Have The Blues, The Comeback, and countless others. But as a performer, his everlasting significance was in opening unexpected doors, and letting the music take wing in places where it had never extended. Blues artists had often attained modest levels of popularity, but the bulk of the audience base was essentially derived from the black lower classes. Blues clubs,  where common folk let loose at the end of the day, offered music that was ribald and highly suggestive.

Whether it was the 30ís, 40ís, even the 50ís, Blues tended to be isolated from larger society, Memphis Slim changed all that, especially in the aftermath of settling in Europe in 1943, living in France until his 1988 death. He proceeded to bring a brisk air of sophistication and polish to a rough-hewn art form, developing a presentation that was conducive to concert hall environs. He was a pioneer in this regard, realizing that Blues could only capture the imagination of a mass audience if it was presented with stylishness and refinement. Yet he never compromised the integrity of the music, its core grittiness and honesty was fully maintained. Except it was presented within a chic 'black tie' backdrop. Peter 'Memphis Slim' Chatman went on to become the toast of the Continent. Memphis Slim's fascinating story begins in Memphis in 1915, and sometime in the 1930ís he settled in Chicago and began displaying his considerable piano skills, landing his first record deal with Okeh in 1939. The first of many labels he recorded for over the next 50 years. Roosevelt Sykes was Slimís mentor, but Slim never imitated him. He took Bill Broonzyís advice and developed his own style, characterized by a forceful delivery from burnished vocals while his keyboard work was equally dominating. In 1947, he recorded for the Miracle label backed by his band The House Rockers. Some of the classics included Lend Me Your Love, Rockiní The House, Messiní Around, Blue and Lonesome, and Nobody Loves Me (better known by subsequent covers by Lowell Fulson, BB King, and Joe Williams as Everyday I Have The Blues). The first of several versions of Mother Earth, was heard circa 1950 on the Premium label. He had a very fertile stay on the United label from 1952-54, while also acquiring guitarist in Matt 'Guitar' Murphy. When the combo toured Europe in 1942, accompanied by Willie Dixon on bass, Slim decided to take up permanent residency in Paris. He toured and recorded from 1943 until his death in 1988. Memphis Slim was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1989.-Gary Tate/LivinBlues  MP3- The Comeback


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