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Memphis Slim

An amazingly prolific artist who brought a brisk air of urban sophistication to his frequently stunning presentation, John "Peter" Chatman -- better known as Memphis Slim -- assuredly ranks with the greatest blues pianists of all time. He was smart enough to take Big Bill Broonzy's early advice about developing a style to call his own to heart, instead of imitating that of his idol, Roosevelt Sykes. Soon enough, other 88s pounders were copying Slim rather than the other way around; his thundering ivories attack set him apart from most of his contemporaries, while his deeply burnished voice possessed a commanding authority.

As befits his stage name, John "Peter" Chatman was born and raised in Memphis; a great place to commit to a career as a bluesman. Sometime in the late '30s, he resettled in Chicago and began recording as a leader in 1939 for OKeh, then switched over to Bluebird the next year. Around the same time, Slim joined forces with Broonzy, then the dominant force on the local blues scene. After serving as Broonzy's invaluable accompanist for a few years, Slim emerged as his own man in 1944.

After the close of World War II, Slim joined Hy-Tone Records, cutting eight tracks that were later picked up by King. Lee Egalnick's Miracle label reeled in the pianist in 1947; backed by his jumping band, the House Rockers (its members usually included saxists Alex Atkins and Ernest Cotton), Slim recorded his classic "Lend Me Your Love" and "Rockin' the House." The next year brought the landmark "Nobody Loves Me" (better known via subsequent covers by Lowell Fulson, Joe Williams, and B.B. King as "Everyday I Have the Blues") and the heartbroken "Messin' Around (With the Blues)."

The pianist kept on label-hopping, moving from Miracle to Peacock to Premium (where he waxed the first version of his uncommonly wise down-tempo blues "Mother Earth") to Chess to Mercury before staying put at Chicago's United Records from 1952 to 1954. This was a particularly fertile period for the pianist; he recruited his first permanent guitarist, the estimable Matt Murphy, who added some serious fret fire to "The Come Back," "Sassy Mae," and "Memphis Slim U.S.A."

Before the decade was through, the pianist landed at Vee-Jay Records, where he cut definitive versions of his best-known songs with Murphy and a stellar combo in gorgeously sympathetic support (Murphy was nothing short of spectacular throughout).

Slim exhibited his perpetually independent mindset by leaving the country for good in 1962. A tour of Europe in partnership with bassist Willie Dixon a couple of years earlier had so intrigued the pianist that he permanently moved to Paris, where recording and touring possibilities seemed limitless and the veteran pianist was treated with the respect too often denied even African-American blues stars at home back then. He remained there until his 1988 death, enjoying his stature as expatriate blues royalty. ~ Bill Dahl
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Memphis Slim And The Real Boogie-Woogie

1. Walkin' The Boogie

2. Cow Cow Blues

3. Jefferson County Blues

4. Four O'Clock Blues

5. Mister Freddie

6. Trouble In Mind

7. 44 Blues

8. 88 Boogie

9. Sail On Blues

10. Down Home Blues

11. Down That Big Road

12. Roll And Tumble

13. Crowing Rooster

14. Woman Blues Boogie

x

Track List: Tonk Sound

1. The Bells

2. The Lord Have Mercy On Me

3. My Baby Don't Love Me No More

4. I Left That Town - Harlem Bound

5. Boogie After Midnight

6. The Train Is Gone

7. Pinetop's Boogie Woogie

8. Whiskey Drinking Blues

9. San Juan Blues

10. In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down

11. How Long Blues

12. Sail On Little Girl

13. John Henry

x

Track List: Chicago Blues: Boogie Woogie And Blues Played And Sung By Memphis Slim

1. Boogie Woogie Piano Styles

2. Alberta

3. Scandinavian Boogie

4. Between Midnight And Dawn

5. 46th Street Boogie (Fast Boogie)

6. The Big Race

7. Chicago Rent Party

8. Down South

x

Track List: Memphis Heat

1. When I Were Young

2. Whizzie Wham

3. Black Cat Cross My Tail

4. Boogie Duo

5. Down That Big Road

6. Mr. Longfingers

7. Mother Earth

8. You Don't Know My Mind

9. Five Long Years

10. Trouble Everywhere I Go

11. Paris

12. Five Long Years (Alternative Version)

13. Memphis Heat

x

Track List: Paris Mississipi Blues

Disc 1

1. Lord Have Mercy On Me

2. Rock And Rolling The House (feat. Willie Dixon) (Live)

3. Pigalle Love (feat. Willie Dixon) (Live)

4. Baby Please Come Home (feat. Willie Dixon) (Live)

5. Going Down Slow

6. Just Playing Boogie (feat. Roosevelt Sykes)

7. Mississipi Water (feat. Mickey Baker)

8. Big Town Girl

9. Paris On Rolls

10. Wish Me Well

11. Eagle Rock (feat. Roosevelt Sykes)

12. Mr Sykes Blues (feat. Roosevelt Sykes)

13. M & S Boogie (feat. Roosevelt Sykes)

14. Whiskey Drinking Man

15. The Charming Man (feat. Roosevelt Sykes)

16. Three In One Boogie

Disc 2

1. When Buddy Comes To Town (feat. Buddy Guy)

2. My Dog Is Mean

3. Raining In My Heart (feat. Sonny Criss)

4. I've Got The Blues

5. Shake That Thing (feat. Charlie McCoy)

6. You're The One (feat. Buddy Guy)

7. That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles

8. Rolling And Tumbling (feat. Buddy Guy)

9. Black Cat Cross My Trail (feat. Canned Heat)

10. Ottis Spann And Earl Hooker (feat. Peter Green)

11. Didnt We Babe / Montreux Boogie Woogie (feat. Freddy King) (Live)

12. Everyday I Have The Blues (feat. Freddy King) (LIve)

13. Loosers Weepers

14. The Prodigal Son

x

Track List: The Folkways Years 1959-1973

1. Joggie Boogie

2. I Left That Town - Harlem Bound

3. Key To The Highway

4. Chicago Rent Party

5. Stewball

6. The Dirty Dozens

7. Beer-Drinking Woman

8. Walking Blues

9. Pinetop's Boogie Woogie

10. San Juan Blues

11. Prison Bound

12. If The Rabbit Had A Gun

13. Backwater Blues

14. You Name It

15. M & O Blues

16. Every Day I Have The Blues

17. Just A Dream

18. Midnight Special (live)

19. The Bells

20. Mean Old Frisco

21. The Gimmick

x

Track List: The Very Best Of Memphis Slim: 'The Blues Is Everywhere'

2. Sassy Mae

3. The Driving Wheel

4. Life Is Like That

5. All By Myself

6. Next Time You See Me

7. Misery

8. Kansas City

9. The Comeback

11. The Blues Is Everywhere

x

Track List: Favorite Blues Singers

1. Introduction

2. Won't Do That No More

3. When I've Been Drinking

4. Mojo Blues

5. Broke And Hungry

6. Muddy Water

7. Prison Bound

8. Queen Bee

9. Backwater Blues

10. It Was A Dream

11. Mean Mistreating Mama

12. Digging My Potatoes

13. Yancy Special

x

Track List: Boogie Woogie

1. Mellow One

2. Rolling

3. Paris On Rolls

4. Stomping At The Caveau De La Huchette

5. Talk To Me

6. Long Long Boogie

7. Nathalie's Boogie

8. Boogie Woogie At The Penthouse

9. Roll'em Slim

10. Ouargla

11. Christina Boogie

12. Mistral Boogie

13. Just Playing Boogie

14. Discotheque Boogie

15. Funky And Nice

16. Hudson Boogie

x

Track List: The Blue Memphis Suite

1. Born In Memphis, Tennessee

2. Chicago

3. Me And My Piano

4. Handyman

5. Feel Like Screaming And Crying

6. Riding On The Blues Train

7. Boogin' And Bluesin'

8. Wind Gonna Rise

9. Youth Wants To Know

10. Boogie Woogie 1-9-7-0

11. Otis Spann And Earl Hooker

12. Chicago Seven

13. Mason-Dixon Line

14. Mother Earth

15. I've Got Soul

x

Track List: All Kinds Of Blues

1. Blues Is Troubles

2. Grinder Man Blues

3. 3-In-1 Boogie

4. Letter Home

5. Churnin' Man Blues

6. Two Of A Kind

7. The Blacks

8. If You See Kay

9. Frankie And Johnny Boogie

10. Mother Earth

x

Track List: Memphis Slim U.S.A.

1. Memphis Slim U.S.A.

2. Sassy Mae

3. Little Piece Of Mind

4. Got To Find My Baby

5. Banana Oil

6. Blue And Lonesome

7. Two Of A Kind

8. She's Allright

9. Blues All Around My Head

10. Wish Me Well

11. Four Years Of Torment

12. Got To Find My Baby

13. Slim Was Just Kiddin'

14. Jive Time Bounce

15. Backbone Boogie

16. Memphis Slim U.S.A. (Alternate)

17. She's Allright (Alternate)

18. Blues All Around My Head (Alternate)

19. Blue And Lonesome (Alternate)

x

Track List: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2

1. (Now I) Got The Blues

2. Don't Ration (My) Love

3. Mistake In Life

4. Grinder Man Blues

5. Slim's Boogie

6. Little Mary

7. Cheatin' Around

8. A Letter Home

9. Kilroy Has Been Here

10. Rockin' The House

11. Lend Me Your Love

12. Darling I Miss You

13. Pacemaker Boogie

14. (Sometimes I Feel Like A) Motherless Child

15. Harlem Bound

16. Life Is Like That

17. Nobody Loves Me (Everyday I Have The Blues)

18. Nobody Loves Me

19. Believe I'll Settle Down

20. Throw This Poor Dog A Bone

21. Help Me Some

22. Country Girl

23. Blue And Lonesome

24. Angel Child

x

Track List: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 3: 1948-1950

1. Midnight Jump

2. Messin' Around

3. Lovin' Man Blues

4. Lonesome

5. You And I

6. Timsy's Whimsy

7. Frisco Bay

8. Restless Nights

9. If You Live That Life

10. Love At Sight

11. Jumping Bean

12. A Letter Home

13. Grinder Man Blues

14. Slim's Boogie

15. Mistake In Life

16. The Girl I Love

17. Mean Little Woman

18. Slim's Blues

19. Having Fun

20. Flock Rocker

21. I Guess I'm Fool

22. Really Got The Blues

23. Mother Earth

Comments

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I've been a blues fan for some 30 yrs and somehow neglected him. Wow, he is among the best. Move over Otis Spann, and share the spotlight!
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Puts life back in the spine!!!!
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Just a Dream.....WO W , Love the lyrics...... .
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Heavy, heavy, heavy...mmmm m m Memphis Slim's right on!
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LordQueezle, thanks for the feed back. It takes a lot of dedication to achieve, I am impressed with your desire to get to where you want to go with the 88's. .
So far the only instrument I can play is a radio....... . I turn it on, and the music comes out...LOL
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@DaParkbraum a n It would probably take about ten years of good practice. If you just practiced this song probably a few months. But to be good enough to start playing Boogie's, Jazz, Blues, well anything actually I would say about ten or so years. I am at the 8 year mark and I have recently started looking into boogies. And let me tell you they are fun! :) but yes very challenging.
Report as inappropriate
tooooo goood...... I want to play a piano like this guy.....I know, I know....It ain't gonna happen....Th i s is way harder than it sounds.... two hands working together, playing different things..at the same time....Whoo o o o e y . . . . . .
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Nothin like it!
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Tickle those ivories!
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yeah
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woooooh
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from Memphis
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here comes da blues!!!!!!
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sharonisrael 2 0
This really works Your crush will like you if you post this on 2 other songs
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sweet
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Take. Back home
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Fantastic walk'n bass, with that full boat boogie piano and his velvet smooth voice, sorry B.B., but THIS is Rid'n with the King, in a 1953 Cadillac Le Mans concept car .... roll'n smooth
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jamesmoses46
we all goin' back 2 mother earth!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Great music!
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terrysayles
My mom was from Memphis and this is the style she played. I remember her playing in a dive in Vegas once and a group of Hells Angels showed up. A short fat white women playing Boogie and they were butter in her hands. She was about the same age, must have been soul mates.
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Memphis Blues baby!!! Yeah!!! I love Memphis in the fall!!!
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Nice, very nice.
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I am so glad to hear this music, such clarity of piano teck. it is real history
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boogiespeed
magic 'finners', magic timin', magic voice...

ah, what a combination!
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marcia_coyle
He's got his finger on the pulse HO!
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a beloved blues piano juju bobo playin' a** fuuuuuu of love peace and mega happyvibe boodoo doooooo dude. grab yer bong and go back to bed. long live da blues.
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this is riding in my caddy music
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this guy is so smooth, i likes it !
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AH, "BOOGIE JAM" IS SUPER BY OLE MEMPHIS SLIM,GREAT BEAT,GOOD BACK GROUND AS WELL,NICE,NI C E . . . .
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He has the best right hand on the keyboard (and the left isn't too bad either)!
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WAT UP DOG YEEEEEEEEEEE E E E E E E E E E E E E E ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
from kev doris

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