Gibson have announced plans for a new guitar made in honour of the legendary bluesman James “Slim Harpo” Moore.
The company has recreated Harpo’s guitar of choice, the Gibson ES-330 in the form of the Slim Harpo “Lovell” ES-330 in Vintage Sunset Burst. The Slim Harpo “Lovell” ES-330 features a three-ply Maple/Poplar/Maple top, back and sides with Spruce bracing, a Mahogany neck with a rounded C profile, Rosewood fretboard with small block inlays, ABR-1 bridge with Trapeze tailpiece, vintage deluxe tuners with white buttons, Dogear P-90 pickups with hand-wired controls, and Orange Drop capacitors. The guitar has a custom “Lovell” logo on the back of the headstock to honour Slim Harpo’s wife, life partner, manager, and the co-writer of some of his biggest hits, Lovell Moore.
The story of Slim Harpo and his music is among the most fascinating in all of blues and R&B. With his fusion of blues, rock & roll rhythms, soul, swing and even country vocal inflections, Slim was a prominent torch bearer of a sub-genre known as Louisiana swamp blues. His brush with chart topping pop fame was brief as was his life, but his imprint on music is undeniable. Today, 51 years since his passing, Slim is an unsung hero of the blues – that is, outside of the generations of iconic artists he influenced.
Born in 1924 among the sugar cane fields of Belmont Plantation across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Slim Harpo, aka James Isaac Moore was among the last of the original down-home bluesmen, but also one of the first to register hits on the pop charts.
Slim made an impressive debut with his recordings of I’m A King Bee. In 1957. Turning professional-against his wife and music manager, Lovell’s advice – Slim found it tough to survive. Lovell booked his gigs, co-wrote his songs (although she was mostly uncredited), and traveled with him to shows out of state.
Generations of musicians have been influenced by and recorded Slim Harpo’s songs including The Kinks, Van Morrison, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Hank Williams Jr, The Grateful Dead and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Among the first were The Rolling Stones, as Mick Jagger famously said, “What’s the point in listening to us… when you could be listening to Slim Harpo?”
The Slim Harpo “Lovell” ES-330 is available worldwide at: www.gibson.com.