Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Piano Slim - Gateway To The Blues

Born Robert T. Smith, a resident of St. Louis where he is known as Piano Slim. He paid his dues way back in the '40s and '50s in Houston, Texas working among such first rate bluesman as Gatemouth Brown, Little Willie Littlefield, and Henry Hayes. It was there that he made his first record for a small label that also starred Smokey Hogg.

In 1959 he moved to St. Louis and recorded '"Workin' Again" for the local Bobbin label, released along with the works of Albert King and Little Milton. In St. Louis Slim played in about any club or bar worth mentioning and today there are no signs of him slowing down.

His first album for the Swingmaster label, "Mean Woman Blues", was recorded in August of 1981. Other recordings and singles followed, such as the 1983 album, "Gateway To The Blues". This led to six European tours featuring Piano Slim as either a headliner, supporting act, or sideman. When home in St. Louis, he continued to play the local clubs and work with some of the areas notable bluesmen, such as Tommy Bankhead and J.R. Reed. In 1991, Slim was featured on a compilation of St. Louis' blues artists on the Wolf Records label, called "St. Louis Blues Today". Besides Piano Slim, this album included songs and performances by Tommy Bankhead, Doc Terry, J.R. Reed, Oliver Sam and Johnny Johnson.

During this period, Slim began using a popular local St. Louis band, Blues Inquisition, as his backup band. They performed together at regular engagements and special events through the mid nineties. In 1993 they recorded an album together, "Minnie Skirt", his best produced album to date. Shortly after that album was finished, Slim took another "real job" driving a cab, to help raise his grandson. After being "retired" from that job in 2003, he's playing the blues again. Don't miss his latest CD, "Sneaky People", on the Swingmaster label.

The drawing of Piano Slim driving his taxi was found on another blog, can't remember which one, and my thanks go out to the person for sharing this drawing.



Anonymous said...

thank you
great to see you back

jim said...

I am really glad you are back. Thank you for this great album. I believe Piano Slim passed last December.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back in France