Magic Slim

Magic Slim & the Teardrops proudly upheld the tradition of what a Chicago blues band should sound like. Their emphasis on ensemble playing and a humongous repertoire that allegedly ranged upwards of a few hundred songs gave the towering guitarist's live performances an endearing off-the-cuff quality: you never knew what obscurity he'd pull out of his oversized hat next. Born Morris Holt on August 7, 1937, the Mississippi native was forced to give up playing the piano when he lost his little finger in a cotton gin mishap. Boyhood pal Magic Sam bestowed his magical moniker on the budding guitarist. Holt first came to Chicago in 1955, but found that breaking into the competitive local blues circuit was a tough proposition. Although he managed to secure a steady gig for a while with Robert Perkins' band (Mr. Pitiful & the Teardrops), Slim wasn't good enough to progress into the upper ranks of Chicago bluesdom.