Ancestor Worship: The Boston Sessions, 1980-83

Shrimp City Slim

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Ancestor Worship: The Boston Sessions, 1980-83 Review

by Steve Leggett

Ancestor Worship, Shrimp City Slim's fifth album for his Erwin Music imprint, is by far his least blues-based outing. Recorded between 1980 and 1983 with the band Ancestor Worship in Boston, the album also features Slim (his real name is Gary Erwin) solo on four tracks, including "As Lonely as It Could Go" and "Love Is Everywhere Now," both of which show Slim working closer to Billy Joel territory than, say, Professor Longhair country, and underscores the fact that Slim has always been -- for all his talk about playing "low-country blues" -- first and foremost a pop artist. Not that this is a bad thing, although here it is, since aside from occasional tracks like "A Worldly Noise" and the four solo piano pieces, the songs just aren't up to Slim's usual level, and his voice isn't strong enough to overcome mediocre material. He really is at his best when he stays close to the blues, which gives his songs an intangible sense of history. Here he just sounds like a second-line Billy Joel, and Joel can do that well enough all on his own.

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