Blues Guitarist Magic Slim dead at 75

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One of the major players in the Chicago blues scene, Magic Slim, has sadly passed at the age of 75. He died shortly after midnight Thursday at a Philadelphia hospital, his manager confirmed, according to Reuters.

Considered somewhat of a young-gun in the scene, Slim took his cue from legends like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. A cotton gin accident at the age 13 saw Slim give up the piano and turn to guitar. It proved to be a happy accident, though, as Slim became known for a distinct vibrato style with a slide-guitar-like sound, achieved by sliding his bare fingers across the strings. It was this intuition; this innovation, that lead him to legendary status amongst blues aficionados and musicians alike. "If you were going to take somebody who'd never seen blues to one of their shows, it would be like putting them in a time machine and putting them in 1962," explained his manager, Marty Salzman, according to The Miami Herald. "No frills, no rock 'n' roll. It was just straight-ahead, real-deal blues."

Magic also had a rather unorthodox style of playing; he’d use picks on both the thumb and index finger of his right hand – which was both unheard of, and incredibly difficult. And, with more than 30 albums to his credit, Slim also was known for an encyclopedic knowledge of the blues. "There's probably not another bluesman who had quite the repertoire that Slim had," added Salzman, via Reuters.


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