Bumble Bee Slim
Cephas & Wiggins
Davis, Rev. Gary
Fuller, Blind Boy
Holeman, John Dee
Howell, Peg Leg
McTell, Blind Willie
This disc (DOCD-5263) and others
available from Document
Full Name: Amos Easton
Recorded under: Bumble Bee Slim
Born: May 7, 1905 in Brunswick, GA
Died: 1968 in Los Angeles, CA
Instrument: Guitar (and vocals)
Bumble Bee Slim was born in Brunswick, GA. Shortly after he became a teenager he moved away from home to join the circus. He traveled with the circus across the Midwest until he finally settled in Indianapolis. Here, he would often play at dances and small halls, but not much else.
In his early days as a musician, he was highly influenced by the likes of Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell. During this time Easton was also looking to pursue careers in either comedy or acting. It wasn’t until around 1930, when he moved to Chicago, that he finally got recognition for his music and
decided on the musical direction that he wanted to go in. He recorded “Stumbling Block
Blues,” “Yo Yo String Blues,” and four others for
the struggling record label Paramount. During the
mid-1930s Slim was writing and recording rapidly and
outselling many of his contemporaries. Between 1934-1937, Bumble Bee Slim recorded over 150 sides for Vocalion, Bluebird, and Decca. Even
after such a prolific period, Slim was dropped by all
three labels in 1938. After this setback he moved out west to Los Angeles and became musically inactive for
an entire decade. He started back up again briefly in the
1950s, when he recorded for labels such as Fidelity, Marigold,
Specialty. He recorded his last album in 1962 for Pacific Jazz. For the remainder of his career Slim stuck to playing
in small California clubs until his death in 1968. Bumble Bee Slim was a forgotten legend of his
time. Although his instrumental skills are considered less
accomplished than many of his contemporaries, he is
remembered for his ability to write great blues lyrics and
his vocal delivery.
All Music Guide to the Blues, 3rd ed. Ed. by
Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, and Stephen Thomas
Erlewine. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2003. <http://www.allmusic.com>
Bruce. Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition of the
Southeast. University of Illinois Press, 1986. (brief
Nothing But the Blues. New York: Abbeville Press, 1993.
Herzhaft, Gerard. Encyclopedia of the Blues.
Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1992.
McNeil, W.K. Program Notes. The Blues: Smithsonian Collection of Classic Blues
Singers [CD Box set]. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Collection, 1993.
Oliver, Paul. The Story of the Blues. Philadelphia:
Aschoff, Peter R. "Reissue Reviews - Bumble Bee Slim:
'The Blues From Georgia To Chicago, 1931-1937.' Living Blues 31 (September-October 2000): 88-89.
Chaigne, Michel, and
Chaigne, Pierre. “Bumble Bee Slim: Discographie revisee de Bumble Bee Slim/Amos Easton.”
Soul Bag [France] 102 (March/April 1985): 11-16.
Key Recordings on CD
Bumble Bee Slim: The Essential. CBL-200031
Bumble Bee Slim. Complete Recorded Works Vol. 1-9. Document
DOCD 5261-2568, 5570.