Unique Memphis Slim live record found in charity shop

Memphis Slim
Memphis Slim (Image credit: Getty)

A Memphis Slim concert recording from 1961, thought to be the only one in existence, is set for public release after it was found in a charity shop.

The vinyl disc was owned by a local musician in Lynn, Norfolk, who ran the jazz club in which Slim performed during a UK tour 55 years ago.

When Peter Heseltine died recently, many of his records were donated to the Oxfam shop in Huntingdon – where the Slim recording was discovered by manager Geoffrey Stalker.

He tells the Lynn News: “I rang the sound archive at the British Library, and as they were so very interested, I donated it to them. The British Library think this may be the only existing recording. It’s of such historical interest, the team are very excited.

“They’re currently digitising it, and they’ll make it available to the public at some point.”

The library returned the favour by donating some duplicate records to Stalker, which raised £500 for Oxfam.

Heseltine reviewed Slim’s performance for the Lynn News in May 1961, saying: “For those who heard him at the club it should have been a memorable night.

“Despite a bit of trouble with the microphone, his strident, rolling piano could be heard all over the club. All in all it was quite a performance.”

Slim – real name Jon Len Chatman – died in 1988 aged 72. He’d first performed outside the US in 1960 and moved permanently to France two years later. He was given a national award by that nation in 1986, inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 1989, and into the Memphis Music Hall Of Fame last year.

Freelance Online News Contributor

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.