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Slim claimed he was offered a song from God and a song from The Devil. He chose this one, which was the song from The Devil.
This has been covered by many guitar greats, including Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Chuck Berry. Slim's innovative playing, including the use of distortion, became widely copied.
Most hit songs at the time were specific to a certain region, but this was a rare R&B song that was popular in the North and South of the United States. It stayed at #1 on the R&B charts for six weeks.
Proceeds from this allowed Slim to feed his liquor habit. He died of pneumonia at 32.
Slim often played guitar with his teeth or behind his back when he performed this, theatrics that would be copied often in the years to come.
A young Ray Charles wrote the arrangements and played piano on this track. It was the first arrangement he got an official credit for. The session took place J&M Studios in New Orleans, where Charles was in town playing some clubs. The session was a grind, and it marked a milestone in Charles' career, as he led the musicians in take after take all night until they finally got it right. At the end of the song, when the horns fade out, you can hear Charles yelling, "Yeah!"
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