Carolina Slim

by Landis Lacey, UNC Asheville Student

 


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Full name: Carolina Slim (Edward P. Harris)

Other names: Jammin' Jim, Lazy Slim Jim, Country Paul, Georgia Pine

Born: August 22, 1923, in Leasburg, North Carolina (Caswell Co.)
Died: In 1953, in a Hospital in Newark, New Jersey

Instrument: Guitar (and vocals) 

Biographical Sketch 

Carolina Slim was born Edward P. Harris on August 22, 1923, in Leasburg, North Carolina. Though many of the details of Harrisís life are unknown, it is believed that he learned to play guitar from his father. While spending time playing music in Durham, NC, as an itinerant musician, Harris found inspiration in the music of other bluesmen outside of the Piedmont region. As jukeboxes became more and more common throughout the South, Harrisís music became heavily influenced by the popular Lightniní Hopkins. 

Around 1950, Harris made the move from Durham to Newark, NJ. Here he made his first recording for the Savoy label, under the name "Carolina Slim." Though Slimís Piedmont blues influences were sometimes manifested in such songs as "Carolina Boogie," and a cover of Blind Boy Fullerís "Rag Mama Rag," Slimís style increasingly resembled the Texas-style blues of Lightniní Hopkins. 

Like Hopkins, Carolina Slim recorded under all sorts of different names. Between 1951 and 1952, he recorded as Country Paul under Sid Nathan Kingís label. He also cut records under several other names, including Jamminí Jim, Lazy Slim Jim, and Georgia Pine. Slimís music was a combination of Lightniní Hopkins style blues, with a hint of Piedmont influence. Sometimes, Slim would play with a washboard to show his Carolina roots. However, Slim would also show his more modern side by occasionally recording with a drummer. He didnít record any major hits, but his records sold moderately well enough to keep him under contract.

By June of 1952, Harris was returning to Newark to cut four more songs for the Savoy label. These recordings would be his last. In 1953, Edward P. Harris entered a Newark Hospital for back surgery, and suffered a fatal heart attack during the operation. He was just thirty years old. Savoy released his last four recordings on a posthumous album.

Books 

Bastin, Bruce. Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986. 

Harris, Sheldon. Blues Who's Who: A Biographical Dictionary of Blues Singers. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1979.

Recordings on CD 

Carolina Slim: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, 1950-1952. Document BDCD 6043 

Web Sites 

T-Bone's Piedmont Blues Page. Accessed 10 Nov. 2003 http://www.io.com/~tbone1/blues/ECblz/carslm.html

AMG All Music Guide. Accessed 17 December 2003. <http://www.allmusic.com/>

Artist Direct Search. Accessed 10 Nov. 2003 http://www.artistdirect.com/music/artist/bio/
0,,412207,00.html?artist=Carolina+Slim

 




This page constructed by Landis Lacey, Fall 2003, as part of a 
course project "East Coast Piedmont Blues."


The Carolina Slim image (top) was "Photoshop'ed" from the Document CD cover Carolina Slim: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, 1950-1952 (BDCD 6043).


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Last updated 18 December 2003.