Slick Ballinger

Mississippi Soul

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It's not meant as an insult to describe North Carolina born, Mississippi-based blues singer and guitarist Slick Ballinger's vocal style as being in the tradition of old-school blues queens like Big Maybelle, Big Mama Thornton, or even Janis Joplin; it's merely an accurate description of the high-pitched rasp this young man (barely 21 at the time of recording) has developed to deliver his take on electrified Delta blues. The vocals are by far the most interesting aspect of Mississippi Soul, which is otherwise a fairly undistinguished retread of the usual south-of-Memphis tropes. Saying that he makes blues standards like "You Don't Love Me" and Muddy Waters' "Rosalie" sound like originals is less a compliment to the off-the-rack generic quality of Ballinger's original songs than it is an indictment of Jim Gaines' one-dimensional production and Ballinger's one-trick-pony performing style. It's a shame, because Slick Ballinger is a truly interesting, original singer who could shine in the right context, but Mississippi Soul doesn't show him off at his slickest.

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