Chicago blues guitarist Magic Slim died yesterday at the age of 75.
Said Bruce Iglauer, founder of Alligator Records, “Magic Slim was a true Chicago bluesman through and through. He gloried in the rough edges of the music. He never tried to make it slick.”
Like generations of Southern bluesmen who migrated to Chicago in the mid-20th century, Mr. Slim lived the hard life he sang about. As a child working the cotton fields of the rural South, he couldn’t afford a guitar, so he made one by taking baling wire from a broom, nailing it to a wall and coaxing a primordial music from it.
He tried the piano, but when he lost the pinkie finger on his right hand in a cotton-gin accident, he focused on guitar, playing gigs when he wasn’t working in the fields.