Grenada in Grenada County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Morris "Magic Slim" Holt, who developed a raw, hard-hitting guitar style that made him a favorite on the international blues club and festival circuit from the late 1970s well into the twenty-first century, was born in Torrance on August 7, 1937. His Chicago-based band, the Teardrops, at one time included his brothers Nick Holt on bass and Douglas "Lee Baby" Holt on drums. Holt's stage name was taken from a childhood friend from Grenada, Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Magic Sam.
Magic Slim and his namesake Magic Sam each created a deep and instantly identifiable approach to the blues, and although their styles differed, both guitarists shared similar influences from their early days in Grenada. They both sang in church and learned to play country music, which was more prevalent than blues on the radio in the 1940s, and both shared a fascination for John Lee Hooker's 1949 blues hit "Boogie Chillen." Slim and Sam were also both born in areas that are now submerged beneath Grenada Lake. Magic Slim was born on a farm in Torrance, a former sawmill town in Yalobusha County, and moved to Grenada
Magic Slim's first instrument was a church piano, but he and his brother Nick Holt also played a homemade one-string guitar fashioned from a wire nailed to the wall between two bottles. Slim learned some guitar from his uncle, Walter Miller, who played "Roll and Tumble Blues," and sometimes sat beneath the trees playing guitar alongside his friend Sam Maghett. After Maghett assumed the name Magic Sam (to rhyme with his surname) in Chicago, he bestowed the name Magic Slim upon Morris Holt. In Grenada, Magic Slim was also inspired by performances he saw in the 1950s by Rufus Thomas, Willie Mabon, and particularly by the guitarists who played in Slim Harpo's band. Magic Slim had tried his hand in Chicago in 1955 but found his skills weren't up to par for the city's competitive blues scene. He returned to Grenada and taught his brothers Nick (1940-2009) and Douglas "Lee Baby" (1944-2006), performing with them during the early 1960s in Grenada, Charleston, Minter City, and other Delta towns at juke joints that often charged twenty-five cents at the door while he helped his stepfather haul and sell wood and homebrewed whiskey.
After returning to Chicago around 1965 with new confidence and control of his instrument, Slim played with Robert
Erected 2011 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 134.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail 🎶 series list. A significant historical date for this entry is August 7, 1937.
Location. 33° 47.085′ N, 89° Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 814 Union Street, Grenada MS 38901, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Belle Flower M.B. Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Grenada Blues (approx. 0.6 miles away); J. Augustine Signaigo (approx. 0.6 miles away); Grenada County Confederate Monument (approx. 0.6 miles away); Edward C. Walthall (approx. 0.7 miles away); Grenada Fort (approx. 0.7 miles away); Odd Fellows/Confederate Cemetery (approx. ¾ mile away); Grenada Depot (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Grenada.
Also see . . . Wikipedia article on Magic Slim. (Submitted on October 27, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 27, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 294 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 27, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.