If guitarist Magic Slim doesn’t watch out, he’s going to find himself challenging people like Buddy Guy and Junior Wells for the modern-day blues-popularity longevity record. Slim’s style is as raw and incendiary as it was when he exploded onto the Chicago scene in the early 60s–piercing tone, machine-gun staccato flurries, and gut-wrenching ferocity, all punctuated by a bass-heavy chording technique that recalls Slim’s glorious scuffling days in south-side taverns like the Boll Weevil Club, on Wentworth, and later Florence’s Lounge, at 55th Street and Shields. Rhythm guitarist John Primer is one of the finest fretmen Chicago has produced in years, and he adds an element of sophistication and elegance to Slim’s primal attack. Slim’s brother Nick Holt anchors everything with a driving, elemental shuffle bass line that’s as well-crafted as it is irresistibly danceable. But make no mistake, these guys are jukers from the soul: a whiff of barroom cigar smoke, rotgut whiskey, and barbecue follows them everywhere they play. Friday and Saturday, Blue Chicago on Clark, 536 N. Clark; 661-0100.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.