AKA WHITEBOY SLIM
Any regular reader will know I am a blues fan, and have been for a fair while now. Given that I thought I was pretty well aware of the top blues players in Saskatchewan, the likes of BC Read, Jordan Cook, and Jack Semple. Then the CD AKA Whiteboy Slim comes across the desk, and I learned pretty quickly there are always gems out there still to be found.
Whiteboy Slim is the blues persona of Maurice Richard Libby who cut his blues teeth in Regina as a teen, then headed to Toronto where he transformed into Whiteboy Slim. Now back in Saskatchewan, this guy has a sound like he should be from Georgia, and southern Georgia at that.
As I put the CD back on the player today, as background to writing this review – it's just one of those little rituals I do – my wife commented that Slim sounded a bit like the famous 'Wolfman Jack'. She is right in that Slim has a definite growl to his voice, and that makes it just perfect for the blues.
It does surprise me this guy isn't better known, in-part because of his voice. It really is well-suited for the genre, and to Slim's credit he appears to understand that, and writes material that fits the voice. Songs such as Too Many drivers and 20% Alcohol are perfect fits with the Slim growl.
It's also to Slim's credit that he has written 10 of the 14-cuts on this extensive CD. I always appreciate when an artist writes his own material, and I tend to believe in the case of the blues one gets a truer 'feeling' from music which comes from within. In particular I like Slim's I've Been Down So Long, and Tears On My Pillow.
Slim's website www.whiteboy-slim.com suggests his earliest influences were Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong, the second of which he shares a somewhat similar voice. In the world of blues these guys are pretty good performers to desire to follow, and Slim does a creditable job of honouring such roots.
The voice is the key, but he plays solid guitar, and adds some harp work, and that is always a plus in my books too.
This is a very enjoyable blues effort, and the fact Slim is now back in Saskatchewan makes it a tad more special too. Now if he would only catch a gig in Yorkton.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
- Review first appeared Yorkton This Week newspaper May 23, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada