Great Rock Bible
Slim Harpo iTunes Tracks

Slim Harpo

Born James Isaac Moore, January 11, 1924, Lobdell, Louisiana, SLIM was the eldest of an orphaned family, a second generation bluesman who would subsequently work as a longshoreman and a builder in the late 30s and early 40s. Modelling himself on JIMMY REED, and self-taught on harmonica and guitar, SLIM was one of the most successful bluesmen of the late 50s/early 60s; `Rainin’ In My Heart’ and `Baby Scratch My Back’ were both Top 40 pop hits in ‘61 and ‘66 respectively). Thanks to British R&B bands, The ROLLING STONES, The YARDBIRDS, THEM, The KINKS and The PRETTY THINGS, alongside subsequent revival acts such as The FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS and Lou Ann Barton (most of whom recycled blues classics like `I’m A King Bee’, `Got Love If You Want It’, `Shake Your Hips’, `Tip On In’, `Te-Ni-Nee-Ni-Nu’, and the aforementioned chart gatecrashers), Harpo’s repertoire is still being played today.
Harpo didn’t take up music as a career until the mid-50s when, under the name of Harmonica Slim, and performing in Baton Rouge bars, he started working as a sideman to his brother-in-law, LIGHTNIN’ SLIM, who introduced him to J.D. Miller. The latter producer discovered that there was another artist of the same name and convinced the bluesman to change his name to SLIM HARPO. His first session (for Excello, in 1957) produced “King Bee” and “Got Love…’, while he went on to record a string of R&B hits including `Rainin’…’ – from the corresponding LP, RAINING IN MY HEART… (1961) {*8}, plus from ’64: `I Love The Life I Live’, `Buzzin’’ and `Little Queen Bee’.
By 1967, SLIM had abandoned Miller and started recording in Nashville. He was never a full time musician (he had his own trucking business during the 60s), although he was certainly popular enough during the latter day blues revival. He subsequently set his sights on the rock market, although his career was cut short when he died of a heart attack on January 31, 1970. Highly recommended is the Hip-O Select collection from 1997, THE BEST OF SLIM HARPO {*8}.
© MC Strong unpublished 2001-AS // rev-up MCS May2013

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