Cornelius Chapel/Music Maker Relief Foundation
You can be forgiven if listening the new release from Alabama Slim, The Parlor sends you thumbing thru your collection to find his stuff from the ’50s and ’60s. But Slim, nee Milton Frazier of Vance, Alabama was born in 1939 but this is only his third release. A cousin of Little Freddie King (with whom he made The Mighty Flood in 2005), he lays down the boogie that echoes folks like Muddy, Howlin’ Wolf and particularly John Lee Hooker on cuts such as “Freddie’s Voodoo Boogie” with its one chord grinding stomp. Slim plays guitar and sings, and is joined by King on one cut. The rest of the band aren’t slackers either -Ardie Dean who played drums and produced, Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers, etc) on piano and organ and Drive By Truckers bassist Matt Patton. They produce a sound that Slim rides atop, similar to what Canned Heat did on the classic Hooker and Heat.
But before you start thinking that The Parlor is a throw-back relic of blue’s golden age, check out “Forty Jive” where Slim takes our 45th President to the woodpile and gives him a deserved thrashing. Invigorating to say the least. His version of the standard “Rock Me Baby” reminds you of Lightnin’ Hopkins or Mississippi Fred McDowell – you know, that pulsing, greasy groove. Perfection.
This release bodes well for the future of authentic blues artists – no matter when they decide to start their career. Hope to hear more from Alabama Slim soon, but for now, I’m rockin’ in The Parlor.