Slim was always hustling around town in his van with his name and
the phrase "recording artist" prominently painted on the
side. That is he was riding around in that van when he wasn't driving
the big MTC bus that was his day job. Known as the "Singing Bus
Driver" Slim would often pop in to sit in for a few numbers or
M.C. or hang out before hurrying away. Was he really on break from
driving the bus when he stopped in or was he just hittin', gittin'
and splittin' and on his way to the next place to sing a few, promote
a show or glad hand with the crowd? My guess is that it was sometimes
one, sometimes the other and sometimes both!
a bunch of shows with Slim both before and after I returned from Chicago
but The Butanes didn't work often with him. He was welcome to sit
in with us anytime and we saw him on a regular basis until he put
together a regular band - the Kingsnakes - to back him. The most memorable
shows we did with Slim were our very
first advertised performances as The Butanes when we did a set
on our own then backed Percy Strother, Big Walter Smith and Milwaukee
Slim each for a set at Wilebski's on September 2 & 3, 1983. Slim
takes the brunt of the joke in this recounting of Friday's gig but
he really was a well-like individual and we were always happy to be
would often give bands a great old-time M.C. introduction to start
off the show and when he was at the Cabooze he often referred to the
place as the "House of Happiness". Artist John Hanson did
most (if not all) of the Cabooze posters and riffed on that phrase
for this jam session that was one of the featured acts on the first
poster to mention The Butanes Soul Revue. Milwaukee Slim always seemed
to be around when we were doing something new!
Slim (Angelo Chambers) died June 7,
1993 a few weeks shy of his 69th birthday. A CD titled Lemmon Avenue
collecting many of his recordings was released in 1995 and contains
Cleo and Mean And Evil Woman (with overdubbed horns not found on the
original 45) and is available on iTunes.