Born: March 13, 1913 | Died: July 27, 1974 Primary Instrument: Guitar, electric
Lightnin’ Slim - Blues guitarist, vocalist
Highly regarded as a Louisiana Swamp Blues legend, Otis Hicks aka Lightnin' Slim, was born March 13, 1913 on a farm outside St. Louis, Missouri. At an early age, Hicks left Missouri and moved to St. Francisville, Louisiana where he worked outside of music. Hicks learn to play the guitar from his brother Layfield Hicks during the 1930's.
In the late 1940's Hicks worked the bars of Baton Rouge, Louisiana with other local bluesmen like Arthur Kelly. During the 1950's Hicks often worked with his brother in law Slim Harpo, and they performed together occasionally in the 1960's.
He recorded for Excello from the mid-50's to mid-60's, and under the production of Jay Miller established his reputation in the Bayou State with the release of his classic “Rooster Blues.”
Slim’s recording fortunes waned in the mid-60s and he left Louisiana for Romeo, Michigan, where he worked as a laborer. Several years later while living in Pontiac he received an invitation to perform at the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues Festival. The concert and a subsequent date for Excello led to a minor resurgence in his popularity and a string of European tours. There isn’t a lot of material available from Slim’s second coming, but “Blue Lightning,” a live club date on the London-based Indigo imprint, gives a pretty accurate barometer of where he was at.
This jump started comeback and he began his European tour which took him to England in 1972 as part of the American Folk-Blues Festival. He performed at the 1972 Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreaux, Switzerland and toured with the American Blues Legend Tour in 1973.
On July 27, 1974,Louisiana Swamp Blues legend Otis V. Lightnin' Slim Hicks died of cancer.