Cultural Percussionist

Sunnyland Slim Day

Albert Luandrew (September 5, 1906 – March 17, 1995), known as Sunnyland Slim, was an American blues pianist who was born in the Mississippi Delta and moved to Chicago, helping to make that city a center of postwar blues. The Chicago broadcaster and writer Studs Terkel said Sunnyland Slim was “a living piece of our folk history, gallantly and eloquently carrying on in the old tradition.”

Sunnyland Slim was born on a farm in Quitman County, near Vance, Mississippi. He moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1925, where he performed with many of the popular blues musicians of the day. His stage name came from the song “Sunnyland Train”, about a railroad line between Memphis and St. Louis, Missouri. In 1942 he moved to Chicago, in the great migration of southern workers to the industrial north.

At that time the electric blues was taking shape in Chicago, and through the years Sunnyland Slim played with such musicians as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Lockwood, Jr., and Little Walter. His piano style is characterised by heavy basses or vamping chords with the left hand and tremolos with the right. His voice was loud, and he sang in a declamatory style.

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