Greatly influenced by the guitar work of Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and his old buddy Magic Sam, Morris Holt was better known throughout his musical career as Magical Slim! This nickname was given to him by his friend and mentor, Magic Sam, with whom he moved away with and it stuck ever since!
In 1955 the pair moved to Chicago where the elder (by six months) Magic (Sam) let the younger Magic (Slim) play bass with his band..it was here that he gained his nickname.
Originally Magic Slim was a pianist, but following a cotton gin (cotton engine machine) accident where he lost his little finger, Slim transferred his skills to the guitar! His recording career began in 1966 when he released his first single, Love My Baby. and it took another ten years for him to record his first album, Born Under a Bad Sign. He then carried on recording right up until his death in 2013.
His sound as a Chicago Blues artist developed over the years and although he wasn’t rated too highly by his peers at first, he later went on to win numerous musical awards and by the time he passed in 2013 he was posthumously awarded a Blues Music Award in the category Traditional Blues Male Artist. A few years later he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame!!)
Today’s song takes us right back to the beginning of his recording career in 1966. Scuffling was the b-side to his debut single, Love My Baby and, with its quirky structure, has quite a different sound to his more standard blues work. Vocals tell a story through half-spoken prose and the melody flits between a rhythmic, stripped-back verse section and 12-bar chorus. It’s catchy too, especially with the loud/soft melody parts, which give maximum contrast over the whole sound! Check it out above.