Drifting Slim

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About Drifting Slim

Elmon "Driftin' Slim" Mickle was a harmonica player from Keo, AR, a stone's throw away from Little Rock. He got his early harmonica training when he saw John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson and Yank Rachell perform and approached Sonny Boy to teach him the rudiments of the instrument. By the mid-'40s, he was playing the local juke joint circuit with Sonny Boy Williamson II and King Biscuit Boy drummer Peck Curtis while doing radio stints with stations KDRK and KGHI. In 1951, he had formed his first band with locals Baby Face Turner and Junior Brooks and recorded his first sides for the Modern label. By 1957, he had moved to Los Angeles, refurbishing his act as a one-man band, adding drums and guitar to his neck rack harmonica work. He recorded sporadically, issuing singles on his own and other labels through the early '60s. In the flush of the "folk-music boom" of the mid-'60s, Slim was rediscovered and recorded for a number of collectors' labels. By the turn of the decade, ill health had forced him to retire from music and when he passed away in 1977, a chapter of American music -- that of the one-man band -- had virtually died with him. ~ Cub Koda

Keo, AR, United States
February 24, 1919

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