gary clark jr. - story of sonny boy slim

Gary Clark, Jr.: The Story of Sonny Boy Slim (2015)

Day 24 of the #mayvinylchallenge takes a look at etchings, whether it’s the weird title messages scratched into the dead wax of a record or a full side sketch for those albums that don’t fit a double album format. Thinking about that brought me back to The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, the chameleon rock second record from Gary Clark, Jr. At 53 minutes it more than fits on a CD, but the vinyl version only takes up three sides, allowing for a gorgeous scratch design on Side D. So it fits the category; now let’s talk about the music.

Clark’s unique style of blues-based rock borrows from a bevy of different styles and genres. Opener “The Healing” has a hip-hop feel in the repetitive percussion, the ambient keyboard effects. But then that guitar tone roars in, Clark going to minimalist route with some seriously wicked B.B. King licks, his voice lifting the song to smooth R&B/soul heights, even as that guitar screams otherwise.

Elsewhere The Story of Sonny Boy Slim weaves in and out of tones, providing an eclectic array of styles. The acoustic folk of “Church” makes way for modern soul/funk of “Hold On.” The dirty raucous rock of “Grinder” moves into the bass heavy Sly Stone homage of “Star.” overall the album has huge 70s vibes, and I’m here for it. It doesn’t;t go to the themes of his 2019 monster This Land, but it paves the way for where that album would go.

Running late (again), so keeping this one short.

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