GUITAR SLIM: Electric Guitar Pioneer with more front than Margate

6th August 2017

Title: You’re Gonna Miss Me

Label: Jasmine

This collection of 30 tracks is subtitled, The Complete Singles Collection As & Bs 1951-1958. Guitar Slim (it sounded better than Eddie Jones, his real name) was one of the electric guitar pioneers. He influenced some of the world’s most famous and enduring artists such as Buddy Guy, Earl King, Albert Collins…you name them, they looked to Slim.

That’s how important he was and remains in terms of his stature. Don’t think, though, that this guy was solemn and sour in his guitar efforts. Guitar Slim was nothing if not a showman. If I told you that he needed every inch of the 350 feet of cable that connected his guitar to his amp…you might get some idea of his onstage antics. And then there were the bright, headache-inducing coloured suits. And then he’d dye his hair to match his suit of the moment. Getting the picture here?

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Slim had a unique guitar tone at that time. His axe – and that’s what it was in the man’s hands – rang out. And that ringing tone was accompanied with plenty of distortion. He would then take a gospel vibe and insert that into his vocals.

I was glad to hear a broadly balanced sonic output from this CD. Even on some of the obviously primitive productions, there is a welcome lack of midrange pinching. The backing music can be a little veiled at times (although there’s plenty of contrastingly high quality productions too) but Slim’s vocal is always be clear and emotive.

Also new out from Jasmine is swamp-blues harpist, Lazy Lester’s ‘I’m a Love Not a Fighter’, his complete Excello singles output 1956-62; ‘Four Original Albums’ and bonus tracks from the articulate an innovative harmony group, The Four Freshman plus ‘The Wonderful World of Robert Goulet’ and his first four albums.