Magic Slim & the Teardrops

Anything Can Happen (Blind Pig)

Music like this gets harder to find by the day. Magic Slim & the Teardrops' tag as "the last real Chicago blues band" may be a bit of an exaggeration -- but not by much. And the label gathers more authenticity with every passing year. The '50s and '60s marked the golden era of Windy City blues, back when smooth guitar sounds were not the norm on West and South Side bandstands. Most of the old-school players just amped up and citified the raucous backwater sounds of their southern beginnings, paying little mind to young slicksters like B.B. King.

Slim is one of the few players left with such a pedigree, and his new disc, recorded live, lets everyone know that the old sound is still around. Slim's playing has a gritty edge, an angular attack, and an almost defiant lack of refinement that has marked many great Chicago axemen. The individual tunes on Anything Can Happen don't matter nearly as much as the continuous drive and vitality Slim and his top-notch backup unit inject into the deep blues. Let's enjoy it while we still have it.