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Thursday, June 29, 2017

STILL more press raves for re-release Guitar Slim Jr.'s debut album

 Howlin' Wuelf Media

I'm including STILL more media breaks on Orleans Records'  re-release of The Story Of My Life, the Grammy-nominated debut album from singer-guitarist Guitar Slim Jr.  distributed by Select-O-Hits. This marks the album's first-ever release on vinyl and its first re-issue on CD since the late 1980's. I'm hoping you'll consider covering this release via album review or interview. Please let me know if you need the music.

Slim Jr. aka Rodney Armstrong, the son of Southern Blues legend Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones, was already few decades into his music career when he recorded the album. The sessions took place in New Orleans, in the summer of 1987, at Big Easy Studio on Paris Avenue.
Guitar Slim, Jr. (born Rodney Glenn Armstrong, August 24, 1952), in New Orleans, Louisiana is the son of Eddie Jones who of course was Guitar Slim. This album is a re-issue of the 1968 album of the same name that was nominated for a Grammy. Recorded in 1987 at The Big Easy Studio on Paris Avenue in New Orleans, two of the tracks have a direct connection to the UK with keys work on 'Bad Luck Blues' and 'Well I Done Got Over', delivered by Brit Jon Cleary who had been in New Orlins for only about two years following his emigration. The music is excellent. 'Real'' blues, many of the tracks straight 12 bar, some of them (Trouble Don't Last, Bad Luck Blues, Too Weak To Fight, Well I Done Got Over) come with a small horn section and one, 'Turn Back The Hands Of Time', with a vocal group. Throughout Slim's guitar work is fiery and inventive with a nice edgy tone. Not bad for 48 years ago! This one is strongly recommended, especially if you tire of what passes for blues today.  
Ian Mackenzie/ June

Rodney Glenn Armstrong a.k.a. Guitar Slim Jr. is a New Orleans blues guitarist and singer and the son of Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones.
Guitar Slim is best known for his million selling hit single "The Things That I Used to Do". The elder Slim died in 1959 when he was 32 years old. His son was not yet eight years old. Guitar Slim was an inspiration to Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Earl King, Albert Collins, Lonnie Brooks and Buddy Guy.
Guitar Slim Jr. talked and sang just like his daddy. He was given his first guitar by Huey "Piano" Smith and was nicknamed Guitar Slim Jr. by Earl King. He followed in his father's footsteps and along with a talented bunch of New Orleans sidemen recorded his own debut album in 1988. "The Story of My Life" was recorded at the Big Easy Studio on Paris Avenue and released on Orleans Records. The following year it was nominated for a Grammy Award as Best Traditional Blues Album.
Guitar Slim Jr. recorded only two more albums. In 1996 he released "Nothing Nice" featuring the Memphis Horns on Warehouse Creek Records. His last album was 2010's "Brought Up The Hardway" on the ClyDesign Studio imprint. He now lives in Washington D.C. but is still a fixture on the New Orleans scene having last played The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2011.
On April 22, 2017 Orleans Records re-issued "The Story of My Life" on both Vinyl and cd. The band includes Guitar Slim Jr., vocals and guitar; Shannon Powell (from The Preservation Hall Jazz Band) or Kerry Brown (from Guitar Slim Sr's band), drums; Rene Coman (from Alex Chilton and The Iguanas) or Charles Moore (from Deacon John and The Ivories), bass; Jon Cleary, piano; and Milton Batiste Jr., trumpet. The album was produced by Carlo Ditta.
Seven songs were written by his father Guitar Slim, Sr. including the title track and "Well, I Done Got Over It", "A Letter to My Girlfriend", "Bad Luck Blues" and "Sufferin' Mind". Both "Turn Back The Hands of Time" and "Can I Change My Mind" were hits for Tyrone Davis; while "Too Weak to Fight" is from Clarence Carter.
This historic re-issue is highly recommended.
Richard Ludmerer/ 6/8

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Story Of My Life, by Guitar Slim Jr. and it's really cool. GS Jr. (Rodney Armstrong) is the natural son of Guitar Slim (Eddie Jones). Opening with a classic Guitar Slim track, Trouble Don't Last, Jr. is front and center on guitar and vocals with Shannon Powell on drums, Rene Coma on bass, Milton Batiste on trumpet and Ernest Watson on sax. Title track, The Story of My Life, has a slower tempo and Jr. shows vocal skill along with pointed guitar riffs. Very nice. On Bad Luck Blues, Jr. maintains a lot of Sr.'s sty;e but he has his own flair with stinging riffs. On classic R&B track, Can I Change My Mind, Jr. shows a much smoother vocal style and his guitar playing is jazzy and fluid with Kerry Brown on drums, Charles Moore on bass and Keith Fazarde on keys. Hot! Reap What You Sow is my favorite track on the release with strong Sr. attributes and powerful vocal and guitar work by Jr. A lot more relaxed in delivery, I Done Got Over It includes backing horn work and hand claps with nice piano work by Jon Cleary. Wrapping the release is Sufferin' Mind with an early R&B flavor. With AJ Loria piano balancing Jr.s fluid guitar runs, and warm vocals and the backing vocals of Sylvia and Oneida Joseph, this is a solid closer for a fine release. 

Back in April, Orleans Records re-issued the Grammy-nominated blues album "The Story Of My Life" from Guitar Slim Jr. It will be the first ever release of the album on vinyl and will be also issued on CD for the first time in almost 30 years. The album was the debut release from Guitar Slim Jr. (son of legendary Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones) and features a classic blues sound that he adopted by being around his father at a very young age. Songs like "Bad Luck Blues" and "Reap What You Sow" showcases Guitar Slim Jr.'s exceptional skills on the guitar as he electrifies the music with jolts of energy. While he still performs live to this day, he has all but given up on studio recordings (his last studio album was released in 2010). To find out more about Guitar Slim Jr. and the new re-issue of his classic album "The Story Of My Life," please visit
Jim Pasinski/ 6/29
In the studio for The Story of My Life, producer Carlo Ditta teamed Slim with drummers Shannon Powell (Preservation Hall) and Kerry Brown (Lawrence Cotton, Guitar Slim Sr.); bassists Rene Coman (The Iguanas, Alex Chilton) and Charles Moore (Deacon John and the Ivories); and pianist Jon Cleary (a future Grammy winner and Bonnie Raitt band member). Milton Batiste Jr. (Olympia Brass Band, Professor Longhair and many more) blew trumpet and arranged the horn charts.
Seven of the songs recorded came from the repertoire of Slim Sr., rounded out by renditions of soul hits by Tyrone Davis ("Turn Back the Hands of Time," "Can I Change My Mind") and Clarence Carter ("Too Weak to Fight"). Despite the album's preponderance of Slim Sr. material, Jr. never wanted to ride his daddy's coattails. "I just don't want to lean on my daddy," he says. "I'm supposed to. Everybody else doing it. Hendrix and them did it. Stevie Ray (Vaughan) and them did it."

As a child, rubber bands served as strings for Rodney's first semblance of a guitar. Huey "Piano" Smith, the songwriter-pianist who performed with Guitar Slim Sr. in the early 1950s, later gave Armstrong his first guitar amplifier. Earl King, the classic New Orleans rhythm-and-blues artists who modeled himself after Guitar Slim Sr., was the first to call him "Guitar Slim." Slim Jr. made another connection to his father when he performed at the Dew Drop Inn with Oscar "Honey Boy" Moore, the drummer who'd been the third man in Slim Sr.'s early '50s trio with Smith.  Rodney would be a fixture on the Black New Orleans club circuit for the next 20 odd years that led up to the recording of his debut album.

After its release, things started happening fast. In 1989, The Story of My Life was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional Blues Album category. Slim opened for and befriended Texas blues star Stevie Ray Vaughan. He socialized with his daddy's contemporary, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. He knew Prince and Johnny Winter; reportedly he did some recording at Paisely Park. Unfortunately, a wild lifestyle kept him from properly capitalizing on all this.

He has continued to perform live, but only entered the studio twice after The Story of My Life, releasing Nothing Nice in 1996 and Brought Up The Hardway in 2010.

Nowadays, he lives a quiet life in the D.C. He thanks God he survived through his wild years. "The devil was trying get me, but Jesus didn't let me go. He held onto me. Like he's doing now."

Meanwhile, the rest of us can enjoy this document of Guitar Slim Jr. at a point when the good Lord's hold wasn't quite so firm.

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