Today’s Music to Blow My Mind – Slim Harpo and Swamp Blues

I’m going right back to the early dys of my youth. I was about fifteen-years-old when I came across an album called Swamp Blues and was introduced to the Excello Label and the blues delights of Slim Harpo, Lazy Lester, Lonesome Sundown and Lightnin’ Slim. Those names conjure up such images.

Swamp Blues was earthy, seminal and had an infectious, lazy Jimmy Reed beat. I loved it.

I did get to see Lazy Lester perform but the majestic Slim Harpo went and died on me! I did get to visit his grave in Louisiana though where I paid my respects.

They are great. Today I shall immerse myself in that hypnotic beat and pretend I’m fifteen again, lying on my bed in my little bedroom in Walton-on-Thames on the Thames delta, listening to the music of some wonderful black guys all the way from the swamps and bayous of Louisiana. Marvellous!

This is where the Kinks and Stones got it from!

Slim Harpo – Buzzin’ The Blues [The Complete Slim Harpo CD 3 ] – YouTube

Slim Harpo – Buzzin’ The Blues [The Complete Slim Harpo CD 2] – YouTube

Slim Harpo – A Swamp Blues Genius

Swamp Blues from Louisiana

We checked out the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge.

Then we set off to find what had happened to James Moore AKA Slim Harpo the Excello label Swamp Blues maestro responsible for such gems as Shake Your Hips, I’m A King Bee and Got Love If You Want It – made famous by bands such as the Stones and Kinks.

I’d first heard Slim playing on a treasured album called Swamp Blues. He was a great favourite of mine. The man was a genius. I never got to see him perform because in 1970, just as he was organising a tour of Europe, he dropped dead from a heart attack. Such a great shame. He was only forty six.

It took us a long time to track down the graveyard where Slim Harpo was buried.

We found his grave in an overgrown section with trees growing out of his grave.

We paid our respects. Goodbye Slim and thanks for the music.

My favourite Swamp Blues Guys

This is an easy one. Way back in the 60s I discovered this wonderful album called Swamp Blues. It featured all these guys. They recorded down in Louisiana in bayou country – swamp country. There stuff was on the Excello label produced by J.D. Jay Miller and has a distinctive swampy feel based around that infectious Jimmy Reed beat. I loved it.

I loved those names too. They were magical! That album was special.

Then my daughter moved to Baton Rouge with her job and I was able to check it all out. I tracked down Slim Harpos grave!

Back in London I found Lazy Lester playing in some obscure club and took my youngest son along to see him. A great evening!

The swamp Blues was important. It was covered by the Stones, Kinks and Yardbirds! But the originals are best!

Slim Harpo

Lazy Lester

Lightnin’ Slim

Lonesome Sundown

Silas Hogan

Katie Webster

Lazy Lester in a rare gig in London – photos

Lazy Lester produced great Swamp Blues numbers such as ‘I’m A Lover Not a Fighter’. I first him back in the mid-sixties. He was covered by bands like The Kinks and appeared on a compilation album of Swamp Blues. I loved that album – Lighnin’ Slim, Slim Harpo, Lonesome Sundown and Lazy Lester.

So when I heard he was playing a very rare gig I had to go. I gatecrashed a photo session and took a series of shots with him sitting on a sofa. Then I took other shots during the gig.