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Bluesman passes onTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Magic Slim
Courtesy Photo­Image

Magic Slim, a nationally known Mississippi bluesman who starred on stages in Chicago and at the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, passed away Feb. 21.

Magic Slim was one of the last of a long line of musicians who grew up in the Deep South and moved to Chicago, where blues music evolved after World War II.

Slim first came to Chicago in 1955 with friend and mentor Magic Sam. The elder Magic (Sam) let the younger Magic (Slim) play bass with his band, and gave him his nickname.

In 1994 Slim moved to Lincoln, where the Zoo Bar had booked him for many years. The Zoo Bar was the first white club that Magic Slim ever played. In 1975, he'd never ventured outside the clubs in Chicago's African-American neighborhoods, according to the online encyclopedia, wikipedia.

Slim and his band were regular performers at the Zoo, playing week-long stints. He recorded two albums there, and was frequently accompanied by his son Shawn (Lil' Slim), an accomplished guitarist and singer. Lil’ Slim still performs at the Zoo with his own band.

In 2003 Magic Slim and the Teardrops won the W.C. Handy Award as 'Blues Band Of The Year' for the sixth time.

Slim died at a hospital in Philadelphia on Feb. 21 at age 75. He had health problems that worsened while he was on tour several weeks earlier. His manager had stated bleeding ulcers had sent Slim to the hospital, but that he also suffered from heart, lung and kidney problems.

Styled around the Chicago blues clubs, the Zoo Bar is a long, narrow venue in a Lincoln building built in 1921 at 136 North 14th St.

Larry Boehmer is credited with establishing the Zoo Bar as an important stop for national blues bands on the touring circuit. Boehmer owned the bar from 1977-2000.

Among national blues performers who have played the Zoo are Tab Benoit, Tommy Castro, Albert Collins, Robert Cray, Deke Dickerson, Bo Diddley and Chris Duarte, wikipedia reports.

Boehmer died in September. The Zoo is owned and operated by his son Jeff Boehmer and Jeff’s business partner Pete Watters.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 2/25/2013
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