Memphis Slim

Peter Chatman, best known as Memphis Slim (1915-1988), was a powerful blues pianist and an effective singer who had a lengthy career.

Born and raised in Memphis, he developed into a fine piano player before he relocated to Chicago in the late 1930s, where he often worked with Big Bill Broonzy during 1939-1942 and Washboard Sam. Memphis Slim began recording as a leader in 1940 and kept busy in Chicago during the next two decades. Because his style was flexible and accessible, it did not matter whether the era was dominated by jump blues, rock and roll, or folk music; Memphis Slim always fit in. He also introduced his song “Nobody Loves Me” which became famous when Joe Williams and Count Basie recorded it as “Everyday I Have the Blues.”

Recording prolifically during every period of his career, Memphis Slim found time to record five albums for Bluesville and Battle during 1960-1962 that have been reissued in the Original Blues Classics series. Raining the Blues has an extended trio session with guitarist Lafayette Thomas and bassist Wendell Marshall plus a solo set that includes four guest appearances by Buster “Harpie” Brown on harmonica. All Kinds of Blues, Alone with the Blues, and Steady Rolling Blues are each solo outings with Slim showing off his expertise on blues at various tempos, boogie-woogie, and blues ballads. He also makes four rare appearances on organ during Steady Rollin’ Blues. In Paris: Baby Please Come Home is a spirited trio outing from 1962 with bassist Willie Dixon and drummer Philippe Combelle.

1962 was the year that Memphis Slim permanently moved to Paris, where he worked and recorded steadily up until his death in 1988, being rightly recognized as one of the blues giants.