Sunnyland Slim

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Sunnyland Slim
Birth nameAlbert Luandrew
Born(1906-09-05)September 5, 1906
Quitman County, near Vance, Mississippi, United States
DiedMarch 17, 1995(1995-03-17) (aged 88)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
Years active1920s–1990s
LabelsHy-Tone, Aristocrat, RCA Victor, Opera, Mercury Tempo-Tone, Apollo, JOB, Sunny, Regal, Blue Lake, Club 51, Cobra, LaSalle, Miss, Prestige, Earwig Music
Associated actsMuddy Waters

Albert Luandrew (September 5, 1906 – March 17, 1995),[1] 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.[2] 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."[3]


Sunnyland Slim was born on a farm in Quitman County, near Vance, Mississippi.[1][3] 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.[3] In 1942 he moved to Chicago, in the great migration of southern workers to the industrial north.[4]

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,[5] Robert Lockwood, Jr., and Little Walter.[3] 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.[6]

Sunnyland Slim's first recording was as a singer with Jump Jackson's band for Specialty Records in September 1946. His first recordings as a leader were for Hy-Tone Records and Aristocrat Records in late 1947.[7] He continued performing until his death, in 1995.

He released one record for RCA Victor, "Illinois Central" backed with "Sweet Lucy Blues" (Victor 20-2733), under the name Dr. Clayton's Buddy.

In the late 1960s, Slim became friends with members of the band Canned Heat and played piano on the track "Turpentine Moan" on their album Boogie with Canned Heat. In turn, members of the band—lead guitarist Henry Vestine, slide guitarist Alan Wilson and bassist Larry Taylor—contributed to Sunnyland Slim's Liberty Records album Slim's Got His Thing Goin' On (1968), which also featured Mick Taylor.

He was a recipient of a 1988 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States government's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.[8]

He died in March 1995 in Chicago, after complications from renal failure, at the age of 88.[9]



  1. ^ a b Campbell, Robert L.; Pruter, Robert; White, George R.; Kelly, Tom (July 31, 2009). "The Aristocrat Label". Red Saunders Research Foundation. Retrieved June 5, 2014. "Blues pianist and singer Sunnyland Slim was born Albert Luandrew in Vance, Mississippi, September 5, 1906 (most sources say 1907, but the Social Security Death Index and 1920 census data give the date as 1906)."
  2. ^ "Sunnyland Slim". Britannica Online Encyclopedia, Retrieved 2008-06-05.
  3. ^ a b c d Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. p. 171. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
  4. ^ Robert Palmer. Deep Blues. Penguin Books. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-14-006223-6.
  5. ^ "Howlin' Wolf – Shake It for Me". YouTube. 2006-09-15. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  6. ^ Oliver, Paul (1984). Blues Off the Record: Thirty Years of Blues Commentary. New York: Da Capo. pp. 201–203. ISBN 0-306-80321-6.
  7. ^ Pruter, Robert; Campbell, Robert L.; Kelly, Tom (June 21, 2009). "The Hy-Tone Label". Red Saunders Research Foundation. Archived from the original on November 23, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  8. ^ "NEA National Heritage Fellowships 1988". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  9. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1994–1995". Retrieved 2013-03-14.

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