Slim Harpo

Baby Scratch My Back

Good times are rarely so good as when James Moore – a.k.a. Slim Harpo – is leading the proceedings. And this vinyl reissue of his 1966 Excello LP comes timed perfectly to lift spirits as the pandemic’s hold (hopefully) releases.

Moore was primarily a singer and harmonica player, but he also slung a guitar and, along with a musical-chair of lead guitarists in his famed band, crafted some of the most unique and enduring of hard-driving swamp-blues boogies. Sure, folk such as the Stones and the Fabulous Thunderbirds covered his best, but they never quite captured the glorious lowdown vibe of the quirky, joyful originals.

Among the tracks here are two of Slim Harpo’s most famous – the sublime backbeat bopper “Shake Your Hips” and the silly-but-great chicken-pickin’ anthem “Baby, Scratch My Back.” And don’t forget that “Rainin’ In My Heart” was actually a mainstream pop hit, busting into the Top 30 way back when. Spinning these 11 tracks some six decades on, you step back in time to almost smell the beer, see the glowing neon, and feel the sweat of a Saturday night in a Louisiana juke joint.

This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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