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Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014

Shawn Holt and The Teardrops: Daddy Told Me (Blind Pig)

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The blues scene lost the frontman from a superb contemporary blues band when Morris Holt, better known as Magic Slim, died in February 2013. Magic Slim and his band, The Teardrops, were nominated by The Blues Foundation for “Best Blues Band of the Year” eight times in the last 10 years. His son, Shawn Holt, who first performed with the Teardrops at age 17, is now the leader of the band and has released Daddy Told Me on the same label that issued 10 of his father’s albums.

Holt acknowledges his father by covering two of his songs, “Buddy Buddy Friend” and “Please Don’t Dog Me,” the latter representing the most intense guitar playing of the album. There are also several other covers, including updated versions of Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me” and Jimmy Reed’s “Down In Virginia.”

In addition, five original songs demonstrate Holt’s skillful songwriting ability. The sparse, well-placed lyrics, which portray a unified theme about a particular kind of relationship, allow for the stellar instrumentation to be at the forefront. Great string-bending vibrato pervades “Fannie Mae” and the title track, while stunning slide guitar playing stings through “Get Your Business Straight” and “You Done Me Wrong.”

The Teardrops provide excellent support with their unified background vocals and instantly captivating rhythms, partly contributed by the expert drumming of Brian B.J. Jones. Former Muddy Waters Blues Band member, guitarist John Primer, who is becoming a legend in his own right with his prolific songwriting, also plays and sings on two songs. It will not be surprising if Shawn Holt and The Teardrops, as well as their new album, Daddy Told Me, receive nominations for blues music awards in 2014.

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