Who was/is Slim Harpo ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Slim Harpo

Whether it was another of Crowley, Louisiana swamp blues producer J.D. Miller’s brainstorms or the inspiration of the harpist’s wife (reports vary), James Moore was rechristened Slim Harpo at his first session as a leader in March of ’57 after being informed that his previous stage name, Harmonica Slim, was already spoken for. Miller didn’t have to search very hard to discover Moore, born January 11, 1924 in Lobdell, Louisiana near Baton Rouge. He was a sideman for the producer’s first important blues discovery, guitarist Lightnin’ Slim, and had recorded with him in Crowley as far back as the autumn of 1955.

 "He was Lightnin's harmonica blower," said the late Miller. "I had no idea that he wanted to make records. He had Lightnin' come and ask me if I'd record him. Well, I hadn't heard him sing, so I told Lightnin', ‘I'll listen after we get through the session.’ I did, and it sounded pretty bad. So I told Lightnin', 'I don't believe I can use him. He's not too good a singer.' He said, 'Mr. Miller, I sure wish you would, because he might quit me if you don't.’ So I said, 'Well, we'll give him another try.'"

Miller had a novel idea that would serve the harpist well. "I instructed him to sing nasal," he said. "I'd never thought of that before. I asked him to sing nasal, and he didn't know what that meant. So I got in the studio, 'Sing through your nose, partially.' And that was really unique."

Slim was backed that day by guitarist Guitar Gable, Gabriel ‘Fats’ Perrodin (Gable’s brother) on bass guitar, and drummer Clarence ‘Jockey’ Etienne. He came up with a classic his very first time out: The strutting I’m A King Bee incorporated the nasal gimmick perfectly, while Slim’s amplified harp work stuck close to the distinctive melody and Gable’s stinging guitar answered in all the right places. 

Although it didn’t pierce the R&B charts after Miller shipped it up to Ernie Young’s Nashville-based Excello Records for release, I’m A King Bee found its way over to England in time for the Rolling Stones to include it on their debut album. Slim’s catchy flip side I’ve Got Love If You Want It  attracted immediate cover action when Warren Smith turned in a vicious rockabilly rendition on Sun.

 

Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois

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Electric Blues 1939-2005. - The Definitive Collection!

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Slim Harpo

Baby Scratch My Back

Slim Harpo

Baby Scratch My Back

 

There was still room at the top of the R&B hit parade for a savory slice of lowdown blues when the groove was as funky as the one powering Baton Rouge harpist Slim Harpo's bayou-bred Baby Scratch My Back.  J.D. Miller, the Crowley, Louisiana producer who did as much as anyone to record the region's swamp bluesmen, had unearthed Slim—born James Moore—through his top act, guitarist Lightnin' Slim.

"He was Lightnin's harmonica blower,” said the late Miller. "I had no idea that he wanted to make records. He had Lightnin' come and ask me if I'd record him. Well, I hadn't heard him sing, so I told Lightnin', 'I'll listen after we get through the session.' I did, and it sounded pretty bad. So I told Lightnin', 'I don't believe I can use him. He's not too good a singer.' He said, 'Mr. Miller, I sure wish you would, because he might quit me if you don't.' So I said, 'Well, we'll give him another try.'” Miller liked Moore (then calling himself Harmonica Slim) better after he dreamed up a vocal gimmick for him. "I instructed him to sing nasal. I'd never thought of that before. I asked him to sing nasal, and he didn't know what that meant,” said Miller. "So I got in the studio: 'Sing through your nose, partially.' And that was really unique.”

The gimmick clicked on the harpist's 1957 debut single I'm A King Bee, which Miller sold to Ernie Young's Nashville-based Excello Records. Both Miller and Moore's wife have been credited with dreaming up his stage name, which appeared on a series of splendidly laconic Excello singles, including the swamp pop charmer Rainin' In My Heart, enough of a 1961 pop crossover item to actually get Harpo a lip-synch shot on 'American Bandstand'!

A disagreement with Miller shelved Slim for awhile, but he triumphantly returned to the hit parade in 1966 with Baby Scratch My Back, Miller behind the glass once more in Crowley. The vibrato-laden chicken pickin' guitar (Rudolph Richard and James Johnson were the King Bees' longtime axemen) and some mean percussion cut through the heavy bayou air behind Slim's laidback drawl and full-bodied harp wails. This is blues to shake your hips by, as the title of Harpo's next Excello single implored. Recognizing a superior groove when he heard one, Otis Redding covered Baby Scratch My Back on his '66 Volt set 'The Soul Album.'

Slim Harpo stayed with Excello until he died on January 31, 1970 at age 46, although he broke with Miller shortly after Scratch My Back vaulted to number one R&B and #16 pop. Along the way, his supremely atmospheric swamp blues caught the ear of everyone from Sun rockabilly Warren Smith, who covered his first B-side, I've Got Love If You Want It, to the Rolling Stones, who revived King Bee on their debut LP.

- Bill Dahl -

Various - Sweet Soul Music

Various - Sweet Soul Music 29 Scorching Classics From 1966

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Buzz Me Babe - Excello Sides 1957-1961 (LP, 180g, Ltd.) Slim Harpo: Buzz Me Babe - Excello Sides 1957-1961 (LP,... Art-Nr.: LPWT408700

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(Wax Time) 19 Tracks - Limited Edition of 500 copies! - Limited Edition of 500 copies! - A couple of years after The Rolling Stones cut their eponymous first album in 1964, which was chock full of covers of blues and R&B staples by black...
$21.55
Slim Harpo (7inch, EP, 45rpm, PS) Slim Harpo: Slim Harpo (7inch, EP, 45rpm, PS) Art-Nr.: 45ET15065

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(2017/El Toro) 4-Track EP - 45rpm, wide center hole available for jukebox use and a picture sleeve!
$10.75
I'm A King Bee (CD) Slim Harpo: I'm A King Bee (CD) Art-Nr.: CDJAS3047

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(2015/Jasmine Records) 21 tracks, 1957-1961 - For a blues name as popular as Slim Harpo he recorded quite a limited, or should I say, 'slim' body of work. Here Jasmine features all his commercially released recordings between 1957 and...
$17.23
The Original King Bee  (The Best Of Slim Harpo) (LP 200g Vinyl) Slim Harpo: The Original King Bee (The Best Of Slim Harpo)... Art-Nr.: LPAAPB114

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(2017/Acoustic Sounds) 14 tracks. Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio from the original analog tapes. Plated and pressed at Quality Record Pressings. Old-style tip-on jacket by Stoughton Printing
$48.55
Buzzin' (LP, 10inch) Slim Harpo: Buzzin' (LP, 10inch) Art-Nr.: LPEXC10003

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The first Slim Harpo 10inch LP ever, including 12 tracks, recorded for the Excello label in Nashville, Tennessee!
$19.39
Buzzin' The Blues - The Complete Slim Harpo (5-CD Box) - Blues Music Awards 2016 Slim Harpo: Buzzin' The Blues - The Complete Slim Harpo... Art-Nr.: BCD17339

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5-CD boxed set (LP-size) with 104 page hardcover book, 142 tracks. Total playing time approx. 410 minutes. Bear Family's luxurious CD boxed set, Slim Harpo 'Buzzin' The Blues - The Complete Slim Harpo', was honored with the 'Blues Music...
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Rainin' In My Heart (LP Album) Slim Harpo: Rainin' In My Heart (LP Album) Art-Nr.: LPEXSO8003

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(Excello) 12 tracks - Reproduction of the 1961 original album but with different picture cover! Electronically Stereo and original sealed!
$15.93
Shake Your Hips b-w Midnight Blues Slim Harpo: Shake Your Hips b-w Midnight Blues Art-Nr.: REP08061

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Originally released in 1965!
$11.61
Little Queen Bee b-w I Need Money 7inch, 45rpm Slim Harpo: Little Queen Bee b-w I Need Money 7inch, 45rpm Art-Nr.: REP08058

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(2014) Repro
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Bobby Sox Baby - Don't Start Cryin' Now 7inch, 45rpm Slim Harpo: Bobby Sox Baby - Don't Start Cryin' Now 7inch,... Art-Nr.: REP08035

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KILLER BLUES BOPPER! ALL TIME CLASSIC!
$11.61
Knew The Blues Slim Harpo: Knew The Blues Art-Nr.: LPEXC8013

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(1970 'Excello')
$21.06
The Excello Collection (2-CD) Slim Harpo: The Excello Collection (2-CD) Art-Nr.: CDEX2001

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this 2-CD set may be the definite Harpo compilation: 43 of his fine Excello sides plus a 16-minute live bonus, recorded in Mobile, Alabama. Nicely illustrated booklet with liner notes written by Cub Koda, and rare shots. Highly...
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Raining  In My Heart Slim Harpo: Raining In My Heart Art-Nr.: EX8003

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(1961 'Excello') Neuauflage / Re-issue.
$18.31
The Best Of Slim Harpo (CD) Slim Harpo: The Best Of Slim Harpo (CD) Art-Nr.: CDCHM410

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(1957-70 'Excello') (47:25/18)
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I'm A King Bee - The Early Swamp Blues Classics (CD) Slim Harpo: I'm A King Bee - The Early Swamp Blues Classics... Art-Nr.: CDCHD510

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(Ace Records) 24 Tracks (1957-64 'Excello Records')(62:10) - This compilation includes his greatest sides and many obscure and unissued tracks in excellent quality. Very personally recommended.
$17.23
Sting It Then - Live! Slim Harpo: Sting It Then - Live! Art-Nr.: CDCHD658

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(1961 'Excello') (69:45/20) Enthält die einzigen bekannten Liveaufnahmen dieses großartigen Musikers. Historische Mono-Amateuraufnahmen, die ursprünglich nicht zur Veröffentlichung bestimmt waren. Man hat viel Sorgfalt aufgewandt, um...
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Tip On In (CD) Slim Harpo: Tip On In (CD) Art-Nr.: CDCHD606

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(ACE Records) 25 Tracks (1967-69 'Excello')(77:05) - The 1960s British blues boom's favourite Louisiana bluesman (his song I'm A King Bee was an early Rolling Stones' cover), Slim Harpo remains the state's seminal swamp bluesman. His...
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The Excello Singles Anthology (2-CD) Slim Harpo: The Excello Singles Anthology (2-CD) Art-Nr.: CDB58302

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(1957-71 'Excello') (119:14/44) Eine weitere Zusammenstellung mit den wichtigsten Aufnahmen von einem der zeitlosesten Bluesmusiker / Another compilation with the most important recordings. Slim Harpo's blues is timeless.
$21.33
Slim Harpo - Slim Rocks Slim Harpo: Slim Harpo - Slim Rocks Art-Nr.: BCD17129

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1-CD-Album DigiPac with 32-page booklet, 31 tracks. Playing time approx. 76 mns. White rock bands couldn't get enough of Slim Harpo 's atmospheric harmonica and nasal vocals. This is the music which inspired Canned Heat, Them, the Pretty...
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