Longtime Chicago and Lincoln blues player Nick Holt died Monday.
Holt, 69, had played at the Zoo Bar and other Lincoln venues since 1975, mostly with his brother, Morris “Magic Slim” Holt.
And like his brother, he moved his family from Chicago’s South Side to Lincoln in the 1990s to get his kids and grandchildren out of the city. Most of the extended family still lives here.
In 1999, he was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award as best blues instrumentalist on bass. At the time, he played bass with Magic Slim and the Teardrops.
“He was one of the best bass players I’ve ever heard, and he really influenced me in my playing,” said Zoo Bar co-owner Jeff Boehmer, who plays bass himself.
“I probably would have been 4 or 5 or younger when they started coming to town, so I’ve known Nick my whole life.”
Funeral services are pending.
RIP Nick Holt 1/15/1940-6/22/
Bruce Iglauer reports that Nick Holt, the bass-playing younger brother of Magic Slim, died of brain cancer on Monday, June 22, 2009 in Lincoln , Nebraska , where he had been living. He was 69. Born in Granada , Mississippi in 1940, Nick moved to Chicago in 1956. Four years later, he and his brother formed the notorious Magic Slim & The Teardrops. This band persevered to become a mainstay of the Chicago blues scene. Slim's raucous guitar and Nick's insistent bass lines anchored the band, and created a tough, rock-solid groove so propulsive that it packed the dance floors nightly. It wasn't that Nick did anything fancy or flashy on the bass; he just played it simple and right. Magic Slim & The Teardrops recorded numerous albums for a wide array of labels such as Rooster Blues, Blind Pig, Wolf Records, Alligator, Isabel, Delmark, Red Lightnin', Black & Blue, Evidence, and others. The band relocated to Lincoln , Nebraska , where they had a huge following from their touring appearances at the Zoo Bar. Nick had not been touring for the last few years, possibly for health reasons. In addition to scores of Magic Slim & The Teardrops records, and various sessions as a sideman, Nick leaves us with three releases bearing his name:
Magic Slim And Nick Holt/You Can't Lose What Never Had (Wolf Records)
Nick Holt/You Better Watch Yourself (Wolf Records)
Little Boogie Boy Blues Band featuring Nick Holt/We Do It For The Blues
Many blues fans will warmly remember seeing Magic Slim & The Teardrops with the brothers’ towering presence filling up the stage while they knocked out the heaviest of shuffles. Such a loss for the blues. Prayers to Magic Slim in this time of grief. Thanks, Nick, for the great times, and the spectacular music.
A celebration of Nick’s life is planned for Wednesday from 6pm-9pm at The Zoo Bar. Magic Slim and his Lincoln band will perform.