The Church of The Blues
Watermelon Slim’s singular journey to the blues seems to be the diametric opposite of the great majority of most of those who came to/found the blues. He was born in Boston to an Upper Crust family as William Homans III. His initial introduction to the blues was the family maid in Asheville, NC; she sang John Lee Hooker songs while she was doing her chores. The music immediately connected with him and as he went through his life journey, he rejected family opportunities and went his own way. Slim has had a variety of disconnected jobs that seem completely unrelated; such as forklift operator, watermelon farmer, newspaper reporter, to name a few. He somehow led a prison band, he was the only non-inmate in the band. One constant that did seem to follow him in his journey was music.
Sometimes there are people who try and pass themselves off as something they are not, and you pay good money for either recorded music or a show only to go home kicking yourself in the butt for being such a fool; vowing to avoid that happening again. One way some have learned to avoid this is to look at the musicians playing with the person on the Cd. This disc has its credentials verified by the number of special guests and their resumes, and there are some great and very well respected people helping out here: Joe Louis Walker, Albert Castiglia, and John Nemeth, along with some wonderful vocals by Sherman Holmes of the fantastic Holmes Brothers (for those of you who love that resonating sound of gospel/blues, look them up). All of these guys helped to give extra ummph to the sound provided buy his studio band of John Allouise on electric bass and Brian Wells on drums. Most often when you see in demand, respected musicians playing you know you have found someone who has demonstrated his ability to keep up with them in some way. And when you see as many well respected people turning out as there are here, well, you can pretty well take it to the bank.
I will admit I had not heard of Watermelon Slim in my so very many years of listening to, and then reviewing music, so it was a pleasant surprise to come upon and find something new and real to listen to. This is an individual who has walked an unconventional path to where he is, however it has made him a more interesting character. Many times those with very different journeys, that take they far away turn out the most interesting. With 13 albums to his credit he has certainly proven himself as someone who has a unique way to say his piece. He is respected as an excellent bottleneck slide guitar player.
by bob gottlieb