Everyday I Have The Blues

Memphis was his Mama

Memphis Slim, the author of his oft covered tune "Everyday... " titled above, was born in his namesake's city in Tennessee on the third of September, 1915 as John Chatman. By the time he was in his twenties he had learned his piano from other Memphis Beale Street clubs' bluesmen, most notable was Roosevelt Sykes. He kicked around the south, finally, like so many others before and after, made his way from his last stop in Dixie, Helena, Arkansas in 1939 to Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago is His Daddy

Not too long after settling in the Windy City, he got his recording opportunity at OKeh records using his father's name of Peter Chatham. By 1940 he was recording the "Bluebird" sound, as on that label he put out his signature song, Beer Drinking Woman, now as Memphis Slim. Before that year ended he joined Big Bill Broonzy replacing the late Josh Thiemer a joint venture that lasted four years. It was Chicago that put Memphis on the map.

His Bands

In 1944 Memphis Slim was ready for stepping out on his own again, and he got six others some for his saxophone horn section and they created The House Rockers. A couple of years later that metamorphized into Memphis Slim and His Solid Band. Not only in the end of the forties was he recording with these players, but soloed and hooked up with Sonny Boy Williamson II (aka Rice Miller) and Willie Dixon on various labels such as, Chess, Miracle, Vee-Jay, Folkways and Bluesville. His first number one hit came in 1949 with Messin' Around, followed by Blue and Lonesome and two years later with Mother Earth. In 1953 he had another success with The Come Back. His most famous song that has been covered with winning ways by B.B. King, Big Joe Williams and The Count Basie Band in 1955 is Everyday (I Have the Blues).

Movin' Up and Abroad

His continuing popularity in Chicago through the fifties got him enough notoriety to get him big gigs at Carnegie Hall and the Newport Jazz Festival, and after joining Willie Dixon for a tour in Paris, in 1961 he stayed for good. His style that developed while working the European rubbed some of the purists raw, but by the time of Memphis Slim's death in 1988 from kidney disease, he was part of Blues History and Heritage; especially as where his particular Memphis to Chicago style is concerned.

Disc Sampler:

1960 - Traveling With the Blues, Storyville; Denmark
1960 - Blue This Evening, 1201 Music; remaster
1960 - Raining The Blues, Fantasy
1961 - Tribute to Big Bill Broonzy, Candid
1961 - Steady Rollin' Blues: The Blues of Memphis Slim, Original Blues Classics
1961 - All Kinds of Blues Original Blues Classics
1963 - Aux Trois Mailletz, Verve
1966 - The Real Folk Blues, Chess
1972 - Mother Earth, One Way
1973 - Memphis Heat, Verve
1973 - Soul Blues, Ember
1980 - Live at the Hot Club, Milan
1986 - Steppin' Out: Live At Ronnie Scott's, Castle; import
1992 - Legacy of The Blues, Crescendo
1993 - Memphis Slim At The Gate of Horn, Vee-Jay
1997 - The Bluebird Recordings, RCA/Bluebird
1998- The Very Best of Memphis Slim, Collectables
1998 - Lonely Nights, Catfish
1999 - Life Is Like That, See for Miles Records
2000 - The Folkways Years 1959-1973, Smithsonian/Folkways
2000 - I'll Just Keep On Singin' The Blues, 32 Records
2000 - Blues at Midnight, Catfish
2001 - Complete Recordings Vol. 2, EPM; France
2001 - Essential Masters, Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra
2001 - Ambassador Of the Blues, TKO Collectors
2001 - Blue and Lonesome, Arpeggio Blues

Source: Memphis Guide

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