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Blind Pig Records presents
Magic Slim and the Teardrops: Anything Can Happen (2005)

"I'm gonna play the blues from my heart."
- Magic Slim, in I'm a Bluesman

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: August 15, 2005

Stars: Magic Slim
Other Stars: Jon McDonald, Vernal Taylor, Christopher Bledron, Bob Littell
Director: Peter Berkow

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:00m:11s
Release Date: August 16, 2005
UPC: 019148600324
Genre: r-b


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-B+A- C+

DVD Review

Legendary Chicago bluesman Magic Slim has been around for quite a while now, but as this concert DVD proves, he's still going strong. With a swampy, smoky set of guitars and a relentlessly uptempo blues beat, he and his backing band, the Teardrops, are capable of tearing the roof off nearly any venue. It's impossible to listen to him without quickly finding yourself moving along with the beat, mesmerized by the smooth flow of the guitar picking in contrast to his gravelly bass voice.

This concert, apparently shot in 2005, is filmed in the "Big Room" of the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, California. It's a little difficult to get a read on the crowd since the same small group of people dancing is shown repeatedly. I would hope that that wasn't all there was to see the group do their stuff, but at least you can bring it into your home theater. Even if it's not much of a crowd, the band is clearly giving their all, with Magic Slim injecting his trademark humor and rough-hewn delivery throughout.

The songs are mostly originals, with a few covers mixed in. The clear gem of the set is a rollicking Goin' to Mississippi with a great back-and-forth between the guitars in what feels like a freeform jam. That, combined with Magic Slim's joyful rendition of the amusing lyrics, makes it highly memorable.Shake It, his revision of Elmore James' Shake Your Moneymaker smokes with sensuousness, a pure piece of liquid funkiness that mesmerizes. The blues are often tinged with bitterness, and it's there in spades in the self-explanatoryYou Got to Pay. If you're looking for a slower song, Please Don't Dog Me is a raunchy but heartfelt interpretation of a more traditional blues tempo.

It's been nearly 25 years now since I first trudged through a snowstorm to see Magic Slim, and I've seldom missed an opportunity to see him since. The energy of the band grabs you and doesn't let go for an instant. Any fan of the blues will definitely want to own this disc.

Songs:

I'm a Bluesman
The Man You Need
Goin' to Mississippi
Please Don't Dog Me
Mind Your Own Business
I Ain't Looking for No Love
You Got to Pay
I Need Lovin'
Shake It
Crazy Woman
I Don't Believe You Baby
Black Tornado


Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The 1.33:1 image is shot on video in a live setting. Although that usually means a poor presentation, this show actually looks quite good. Colors are bright and vivid and black levels are deep. Detail is acceptable, considering the video sourcing, though there is a modicum of softness as you would expect. No significant artifacting or transfer problems were noted.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The soundtrack is presented in both 2.0 and 5.1. For some reason the volume levels on the latter are significantly lower, but when the loudness is increased to compensate, both sound very nice. There's plenty of bass, the guitars come across with crisp sharpness and no muddiness and the drums have a clean precision to them. There's no distortion, making this a very fine audio experience.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 12 cues and remote access
Production Notes
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The principal extra is a 14m:41s interview with Magic Slim himself, recounting highlights of his career, his influences and friendship with fellow bluesman Magic Sam back in Mississippi. It's certainly worthwhile though I wish it had been longer and delved more into his guitar technique. There's also a brief set of liner notes taken from an article in the Chico News & Review.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Released in tandem with a CD (that apparently includes two more songs), this disc gives an excellent sense of what it's like to be enthralled in a small club by a master bluesman. Highly recommended.

 


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