Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sunnyland Slim


WHEN Sunnyland Slim, "Mr.Blues Piano," parked his rough blue Dodge wagon in front of my house one Boston evening, 1978, it was a chance stop on a long road ...... that's how I began our book. Thinking about Sunnyland today as it is the 100th anniversary of his birthday. So I am re-posting a pic of Slim that I ran on this site earlier this year. Sad recently to learn that Slim's wife Jerri passed away in 2006.

Sunnyland Slim - Mr. Blues Piano - was hard to capture for sure. One thing about him was a movement. I do have one 8mm film [60 sec] of him driving. Otherwise, its pictures in photos and words on tape - a few misc documents. And these particular picks using my old Brownie Reflex ... which sometimes caught a lot of motion. I took a series of pictures once, as he headed to hail a cab and go to Seattle. i think this was 61st St. See above.

Slim had a deep sense of blues as a music, as an art. His piano style was a wonderful mix of classic blues, Dudlow blues, and jazzy tapdance comps. But his voice, which Sam Charters [Robert Palmer?] pegged as 'stenorian'was what 'brought the women.' what brought him acclaim. He believed in the gospel too. He is just as well remembered as a mentor, bandmaster and, in a good way, 'hustler.' There were rules to live and to blues, he felt. And you lived them. "That's gospel."

This handcolored art above was used as part of promotion for the 45 "Tired But I Havent Got Started" - which we called "Travelling Man Blues" up to the time Slim put it on vinyl. The words went: "The Greyhound Bus and the Trailways, the airplanes did not let me down." Click on the image and access a slightly-larger [full-size] version on my Flckr pages.

The Sunnyland book is finally available we think via the wonder mechansim of the Internet. See the link below or the image link at left of the book. Click, and you go to my Amazon Stuff page, and you can order the book. All profits during the month of September will go toward creating a Sunnyland 100 postage stamp.

As with all things on this blog..this is experimental. If you try to buy the book and have issues please let me know. Jack


Anonymous said...

Jeff Writes "remember staying with Slim above that liquor store on the Southside of Chicago, with you Jack (about 1979?) and he gave me his own bed while he slept on a too-short sofa. Then he cooked us catfish and eggs in the morning and when I thanked him for all of his graciousness he just said, "Oh that's just Bible stuff, that's just what you do!""

Jack Vaughan said...

Sam writes:
Today, I drove down to Lemont, IL, where Sunnyland is buried in Mount Vernon Cemetery. I met up with Barrelhouse Chuck (in picture, below) and we visited Slim's grave. It was moving to be there on his 100th birthday. After I returned home and calculated the miles driven from my place to the grave and back, they added-up to 87: one mile for each of his years on this planet.

Slim lives!

Peace, Sam

Jack Vaughan said...

Mexine writes ...what Sunnyland Slim was...poetry, cause that's a sane way to measure the world (and the chicks dig it), faith, since you don't want to get caught being wrong about such a thing, reasonable, cause that's what a man does to get a drink around here. The man was a pleasure to be around, if only for the anecdotes he inspired.

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