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Sunnyland Slim

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Sunnyland Slim
Birth nameAlbert Luandrew
Born(1906-09-05)September 5, 1906
Near Vance, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedMarch 17, 1995(1995-03-17) (aged 88)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active1920s–1990s

Albert Luandrew (September 5, 1906 – March 17, 1995),[1] known as Sunnyland Slim, was an American blues pianist born in the Mississippi Delta and moved to Chicago, helping to make that city a center of postwar blues.[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, Mississippi, near the unincorporated settlement of Vance.[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 Armand "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 (1969), 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]


NB. Sunnyland Slim recorded on many different record labels over his lengthy career. Some of these titles were issued, and re-issued, at various dates and on other labels.

Year Title Collaboration (and notes) Record label
1947 House Rent Party Delmark
1960 Chicago Blues Session Select-O-Hits
1961 Slim's Shout Bluesville
1969 Midnight Jump Blue Horizon
1969 Slim's Got His Thing Goin' On World Pacific
1970 Pearl Harbour Blues RCA Records
1971 Depression Blues Festival Records
1972 Sad and Lonesome Jewel
1973 Plays Ragtime Blues BluesWay Records
1974 She Got That Jive Airway Records
1975 Sunnyland Slim & Little Brother Montgomery Little Brother Montgomery 77 Records
1979 Patience Like Job Airway Records
1981 Old Friends David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Kansas City Red,
Big Walter Horton, Floyd Jones
Earwig Records
1986 Chicago Jump (Sunnyland Slim Blues Band) Evidence Music
1989 Be Careful How You Vote Earwig Records
1991 Live in Europe Airway Records
1994 Blues Anytime! Hubert Sumlin and Willie Dixon Evidence Music
1994 Decoration Day Evidence Music
1994 Live at the D.C. Blues Society (recorded in 1987) Mapleshade Records
1995 Sunnyland Train (recorded in 1983) Evidence Music
1997 Bad and Lonesome Jewel Records
1998 She Got a Thing Goin' On (recorded 1971 – 1983) Earwig Records / Blind Pig Records
1999 Smile on My Face (recorded 1977) Delmark Records
2006 Blues Legends Live John Dee Holeman Mapleshade Records
2010 ABC of the Blues Vol. 42 Johnny Shines Documents
2012 Legendary Bop Rhythm & Blues Classics Essential Media Group
2012 The Devil Is a Busy Man Essential Media Group


With Howlin' Wolf


  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, www.britannica.com. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
  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 (1982). Deep Blues. Penguin Books. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-14-006223-6.
  5. ^ "Howlin' Wolf – Shake It for Me". YouTube. September 15, 2006. Archived from the original on July 19, 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  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". www.arts.gov. National Endowment for the Arts. Archived from the original on July 30, 2020. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  9. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1994–1995". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  10. ^ "Sunnyland Slim – Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved August 13, 2019.

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