Sunnyland Slim

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Sunnyland Slim
Birth name Albert Luandrew
Born (1906-09-05)September 5, 1906
Quitman County, near Vance, Mississippi
Died March 17, 1995(1995-03-17) (aged 88)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Blues
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Piano
Years active 1920s–1990s
Labels Hy-Tone, Aristocrat, RCA Victor, Opera, Mercury Tempo-Tone, Apollo, JOB, Sunny, Regal, Blue Lake, Club 51, Cobra, LaSalle, Miss, Prestige, Earwig Music
Associated acts Muddy Waters

Albert "Sunnyland Slim" Luandrew (September 5, 1906 – March 17, 1995)[1] was an American blues pianist, who was born in the Mississippi Delta and later moved to Chicago, Illinois, to contribute to that city's postwar scene as a center for blues music.[2] 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.

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,[4] 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.[5]

Sunnyland Slim's first recording was as a singer with Jump Jackson's band on the Specialty label in September 1946. His first recordings as a leader were on the Hy-Tone and Aristocrat labels in late 1947.[6] He continued performing until his death, in 1995.

He released one record on 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 the 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.

In 1988 Sunnyland Slim was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship.[3]

He died in March 1995 in Chicago, after complications from renal failure, at the age of 88.[7]


  1. ^ a b Campbell, Robert L.; Robert Pruter; George R. White; Tom Kelly (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 e Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 171. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  4. ^ "Howlin' Wolf - Shake It for Me". YouTube. 2006-09-15. Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  5. ^ Oliver, Paul (1984). Blues Off the Record: Thirty Years of Blues Commentary. New York: Da Capo. pp. 201–203. ISBN 0-306-80321-6. 
  6. ^ Pruter, Robert; Robert L. Campbell; Tom Kelly (June 21, 2009). "The Hy-Tone Label". Red Saunders Research Foundation. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  7. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1994–1995". Retrieved 2013-03-14. 

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