Every musician is a product of their influences. It would be dishonest for me to deny the influence of B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins and others however the two profound "game changers" were Freddie King and Magic Slim. A quote from B.B. or Muddy may come at any time in my performance, but the giants who take me to the gig and stand with me are Slim and Freddie.
Freddie was an obsession of mine throughout the '70s. I played all of his instrumentals as have many famous guitarists.
In the late '70s, I discovered another giant. While searching the record bins at a record store known for obscure recordings, I discovered Magic Slim and The Teardrops. This lead to a pilgrimage to Chicago in the hopes of finding Slim. The liner notes on the Austrian record label said that he was in Chicago and was relatively undiscovered. At the time, there was at least 50 blues clubs in Chicago cooking every night of the week.
I only knew of two; B.L.U.E.S. on North Halstead and The Checkerboard Lounge (owned at the time by Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells)in the South Side. There was no internet. If you wanted to find something, you had to search and ask....a lot. So my quest began to find Magic Slim.
I drove to Chicago and went to "B.L.U.E.S" asking about Slim's whereabouts. When I got there, Magic Slim and The Teardrops were playing! It was packed so I couldn't talk to Slim. The following night, I went to the only other club I knew of, The Checkerboard Lounge. I walked in and saw Slim sitting at the bar. I introduced myself and explained my shock and disbelief that I found him two nights in a row with no prior knowledge of his whereabouts. He looked at me and said "Well...that's why they call me Magic Slim".
That began a friendship that lasted over 30 years until his passing in Feb. 2013. I became very close to Slim and his band and played with them many times through the years. John Primer was the last guitar player in Muddy's band and when Muddy passed, John went with Slim. In the 13 years that John spent with Slim, we also became good friends.
One of my favorite tunes by John is covered on my album, "Stop Draggin' That Chain Around". Slim encouraged and inspired me to find my own voice in performing the blues. If there's a moment while listening to this album that you find yourself tapping your feet or playing air guitar or drums, I've succeeded in bringing you Magic.
Whether it was Magic Slim or Freddie King that lead to that moment, it's clear to me that they are both responsible for the way I interpret my music and so I have named this album........MAGIC KINGDOM. Hopefully, you will find this album inspirational in some way and together we can share these moments that help to keep the Blues Alive!