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Buzzin' the Blues
Lavish box set pays tribute to swamp blues artist Slim Harpo
BY JOHN WIRT firstname.lastname@example.org
Germany's Bear Family Records, probably the world's greatest reissue label, has given swamp blues artist and West Baton Rouge Parish native Slim Harpo the star treatment. James Moore, the singer and harmonica player whose stage name was Slim Harpo, is the subject of the lavish new Bear Family box set, "Buzzin' the Blues: The Complete Slim Harpo." The LP-sized box holds five CDs, 142 tracks and a profusely illustrated 104-page book written by roots music historian Martin Hawkins. Moore died at 45 in 1970. Be- Hawkins fore his death, he wrote and recorded a remarkably consistent catalog that includes the national hits "Rainin' in My Heart" (1961), "Baby, Scratch My Back" (1965) and, the 1957 swamp-blues classic that later was recorded by The Rolling Stones, "I'm a King Bee." "Rainin' in My Heart," Moore's soul-ful ode to love gone wrong, became a south Louisiana anthem that always pulls couples to the dance floor. His in-fectious "Baby, Scratch My Back" is as funky as blues gets. Besides The Rolling Stones, the many music stars who have re-recorded Moore's songs through the decades in-clude Otis Redding, The Grateful Dead, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Joan Osborne, The Who, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, Dave Edmunds, Van Morrison (with Them), Hank Williams Jr., Pink Floyd and the Doors. In Baton Rouge, the annual Slim Harpo Music Awards keeps Moore's name alive while simultaneously honor-ing musicians who've been influenced by him and have spread his music far and wide.