Clarence Sims

b. October 5th, 1934 in New Orleans (Louisiana)

WEST COAST MODERN BLUES vol.2

P-Vine

1961 - 1962

Né à la Nouvelle Orléans, il migre à Los Angeles en 1955. Il y rencontre le producteur J.R. Fullbright qui lui procure ses premiers engagements et ses premières tournées. Clarence s'installe à San Francisco en 1957. Il publie son premier simple "You got the nerve of a brass monkey" sur le label Dooto (dirigé par Dootsie Williams) qui lui apporte une certaine notoriété locale. En 1961-62, il sort "Everything I do is wrong", "Playboy", "Go ahead" chez Kent. Ces titres fort intéressants sont, d'ailleurs, repris sur ce rare CD édité par le label japonais P-Vine. Entretemps, Clarence est devenu proxénète tout en continuant son activité de musicien. En 1979, il est condamné à cinq ans d'emprisonnement pour cette activité illégale. Libéré pour bonne conduite, il retournera une nouvelle fois en prison quelques années plus tard.

Born in New Orleans, he migrated to Los Angeles in 1955. There, he met producer J.R. Fullbright who gives him his first engagements and his first tours. Clarence moved to San Francisco in 1957. He published his first single "You got the nerve of a brass monkey" on Dooto label (led by Dootsie Williams) which brings him a local notoriety. In 1961-62, he released "Everything I do is wrong", "Playboy", "Go ahead" for Kent. These interesting titles are, moreover, issued on this rare CD published by the japanese label P-Vine. Meanwhile, Clarence became a pimp while continuing his musician activity. In 1979, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment for this illegal activity. Released for good behavior, he will return again in prison a few years later.

BORN TO SING THE BLUES

Eli Mile High

Mountain Top

February 1987

Devenu ami avec Troyce Key qui dirige son propre club - le Eli's Mile High - il peut enfin enregistrer son premier album sous le nom de Clarence "Guitar" Sims. Il se montre un chanteur honnête et un guitariste au style cinglant. Ses compositions - écrites pour la plupart pendant son incarcération - sont de superbes blues : "3rd rate love affair", "Don't treat me right blues", le funky "Watchdog". On notera aussi une reprise intéressante du "Hard luck blues" de Roy Brown. Il faut signaler les participations de Mark Naftalin et de Bobby Webb. Pour la réédition CD de Mountain Top, la musique sera remixée, des overdubs seront ajoutés sous la supervision de Frank Goldwasser.

Befriended Troyce Key who runs his own club - the Eli's Mile High - he can finally record his first album under the name of Clarence "Guitar" Sims. He shows himself an honest singer and a guitarist with a biting style. His compositions - written mostly while incarcerated - are superb blues : "3rd rate love affair", "Don't treat me right blues", the funky "Watchdog". Note also an interesting cover of "Hard luck blues" by Roy Brown. We must also report participations of Mark Naftalin and Bobby Webb. For the Mountain Top's CD reissue, music will be remixed, overdubs will be added under the supervision of Frank Goldwasser.

IT'S GOING TO BE MY TIME AFTER AWHILE

Uptown Video

1996

Il enregistre ce disque méconnu sous le nom de Fillmore Sims (et pas Slim) pour un petit label local. Il semble avoir composé et produit l'ensemble des titres, jouant également de tous les instruments (guitare, basse, claviers et batterie). Seul aux commandes, il propose ici un album vraiment inégal avec un manque de moyen qui se ressent clairement et un son synthétique peu engageant. On peut, néanmoins, retenir de ce disque décevant "I'm broke baby" ou "It's going to be my time after awhile".

He records this unknown record under the name of Fillmore Sims (and not Slim) for a small local label. He seems to have composed and produced all the titles, playing also of all instruments (guitar, bass, keyboards and drums). Alone in command, he proposes here a really uneven album with a clear lack of means and a little engaging synthetic sound. We can, however, retain from this disappointing disc "I'm broke baby" or "It's going to be my time after awhile".

OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD

Fedora

August 1999

Passé chez Fedora en 1999, accompagné d'excellents musiciens (J.J. Malone, Frank Goldwasser, les cuivres Ron Catalano et Les Nunes), produit par Chris Millar (qui tient aussi la batterie), il donne ici un disque assez inabouti et plat. On retient, néanmoins, "Dial 911", "Kicked out", "Annabelle" qui méritent l'écoute.

Arrived at Fedora in 1999,accompanied by excellent musicians (J.J. Malone, Frank Goldwasser, horns Ron Catalano and Les Nunes), produced by Chris Millar (who also holds the drums), he gives here a fairly flat and unfinished album. We retain, however, "Dial 911", "Kicked out", "Annabelle" deserving listening.

FUNKY MAMA'S HOUSE

Fedora

April 2003

Médiocre chanteur mais plutôt tranchant à la guitare, Fillmore Slim propose un blues brut avec production minimale (Chris Millar & Frank Goldwasser) - parfois enrichi d'accents funk - beaucoup plus vivant et excitant que sur "Other side of the road". "Funky mama's house", "Street walker", "Tabby Thomas' place", "Down at Eli's" figurent parmi les meilleurs moments. Il ne faut pas oublier l'excellente reprise Rhythm & Blues de "Those lonely lonely nights".

Mediocre singer but stinging guitarist, Fillmore Slim delivers raw blues with minimum production (Chris Millar & Frank Goldwasser) - sometimes enhanced with funk accents - much more alive and exciting than on "Other side of the road". "Funky mama's house", "Street walker", "Tabby Thomas' place", "Down at Eli's" stand out among the highlights. We must not forget the excellent Rhythm & Blues cover of "Those lonely lonely nights".

THE GAME

Mountain Top

2004

Ce disque commence par une excitante version rap de "The game" en duo avec Frank Stick 'Em. Une version blues tout aussi réussie du même morceau termine l'album. On trouve ici d'excellents textes souvent autobiographiques et des mélodies variées : deux superbes blues lents "Jody" et "My first girlfriend", le funky "Down for my crown", des morceaux accrocheurs comme "Can't get enough", "Playboy", "Downtown Frisco" sans oublier "Big brass monkey" (une reprise de son tout premier titre "You got the nerve of a brass monkey"). Pour cette première livraison chez Mountain Top, la production est confiée, une nouvelle fois, à Frank Goldwasser.

The program begins with an exciting rap version of "The game" in duet with Frank Stick 'Em. An equally achieved blues version of the same title ends the album. We find here excellent and often autobiographical lyrics and varied melodies : two beautiful slow blues "Jody" and "My first girlfriend", the funky "Down for my crown", catchy songs like "Can't get enough", "Playboy", "Downtown Frisco" without forgetting "Big brass monkey" (a cover of his very first title "You got the nerve of a brass monkey"). For this first installment for Mountain Top, production is again the work of Frank Goldwasser.

THE LEGEND OF FILLMORE SLIM

Mountain Top

2006

Il y a la même équipe que pour "The game" avec, en plus, les participations de Rick Estrin (vraiment impérial à l'harmonica tout au long du disque), Joe Louis Walker et Jim Pugh. Il faut noter que Fillmore Slim a écrit la totalité des morceaux présentés sur ce CD. Le titre d'ouverture ("The legend of Fillmore Slim") est absolument épatant, le superbe "Nosey girl", le magnifique "Hey little brother" (avec une partie rap de Frank Sticks alias Terrence Sims, son fils), "Jack you up" sont inspirés, accrocheurs, parfaitement aboutis. Fillmore Slim joue assez peu de guitare sur cet album (la plupart des lignes de guitare sont l'oeuvre de Frank Goldwasser) se concentrant sur le chant (ses progrès en chant sont flagrants ici par rapport à son époque Fedora).

There is the same team than for "The Game" with, in addition, participations of Rick Estrin (really impressive on harmonica throughout the album), Joe Louis Walker and Jim Pugh. Note that Fillmore Slim wrote all of the songs featured on the CD. The opening track ("The Legend of Fillmore Slim") is absolutely amazing, the superb "Nosey girl", the beautiful "Hey little brother" (with a rap of Frank Sticks aka Terrence Sims, his son), "Jack you up" are inspired, catchy, perfectly achieved. Fillmore Slim plays few guitar on this album (most guitar lines are the work of Frank Goldwasser) focusing on singing (his progress song are obvious here compared to his Fedora work).

THE BLUES PLAYA'S BALL

Mountain Top

2011

A 77 ans, Fillmore Slim demeure en parfaite forme (bien qu'il ne joue plus de guitare). Ce double-album le démontre amplement. Superbe production, musiciens remarquables (Frank Goldwasser, Joe Louis Walker, Rick Estrin sans oublier son fidèle ami Bobby Webb). La rythmique épaisse et swingante d'Henry Oden et John Hanes porte parfaitement l'album. Il y a ici plus de deux heures de blues (et de funk-blues offensif) remplies de remarquables pépites : "Funky wino", "Hooker's game" (un véritable morceau de bravoure), "She's nasty", "Bring back the funk", "Strip joint", "Playing the blues around the world", "Thunder and lightning", "The ghetto" (avec son fils) et une délicieuse reprise de "I'd rather go blind" (disponible en deux versions).

At 77, Fillmore Slim remains in perfect shape (although he no longer plays guitar). This double album amply demonstrates this. Superb production, outstanding musicians (Frank Goldwasser, Joe Louis Walker, Rick Estrin without forgetting his faithful friend Bobby Webb). The thick and swinging rhythm of Henry Oden and John Hanes hold perfectly the whole set. There are here more than two hours of blues (and also offensive funk-blues) filled with remarkable gems : "Funky wino", "Hooker's game" (an impressive performance), "She's nasty", "Bring back the funk", "Strip joint", "Playing the blues around the world", "Thunder and lightning", "The ghetto" (with his son) and a delicious cover of "I'd rather go blind" (in two versions).

WALKIN' ON DANGEROUS GROUND

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2015