Magic Slim, the Mississippi native guitarist and singer born Morris Holt who was a standard bearer for Chicago blues for decades, has died. He was 75.
The bluesman died early Thursday morning at Thomas Jefferson University hospital, according to his manager Marty Salzman. He died after undergoing surgery to repair a bleeding ulcer, his son Shawn Holt told the Chicago Tribune.
Slim, who was born in Torrance, Mississippi and grew up in nearby Grenada, Mississippi, began playing guitar after a childhood accident with a cotton gin caused him to lose a pinky finger and give up playing piano. A 6 foot 6 man who wore a trademark cowboy hat, Slim was a broad and imposing figure on the bandstand who was given his ironic nickname by his childhood friend Magic Sam.
He was by no means one of the Missisippi blues originators - he emigrated to Chicago in 1955, didn't start recording until 1966, and founded his long time band, the Teardrops, the next year. But the booming-voiced blues man was one of the music's most effectively dependable practictioners, specializing in raw, slow building grooves that worked their way from simmer to boil in three or four set marathon evenings in Chicago blues clubs or out on the road.