CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Emanuel has issued statement mourning the loss of bluesman Magic Slim, who did it his way against some long odds. WBBM’s John Cody has more.

A cotton gin accident claimed a finger and forced Morris Holt from piano to guiltar, then his first musical venture to Chicago found him facing Otis Rush and Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf.

“He didn’t feel like he was ready yet so he went back to Mississippi, worked at it for another five or six years working day jobs, mostly plantation work, playing house parties on the weekends and that sort of thing,” said Jerry Del Judas, co-founder of Blind Pig records.

Jerry Del Judas suggested Magic Slim was like a storm on stage, a force of nature.

“Musically simple perhaps, but emotionally complex music. The whole thing for slim was feeling. I mean, you could never tell Slim ‘Well this is an important gig you have to dig deeper for this one because you know there are going to be more important people there or there is going to be a larger crowd.’ It didn’t make any difference to him. He could entertain people and that would propel him,” said Del Judas.

Magic Slim died of illness that overtook him while on tour in Pennsylvania at age 75. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said ultimately Magic Slim became a legend of Chicago Blues and the city has lost a dear friend.

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