Everyone Should Have a Home
Eagle Park Slim contributes song to fight homelessness
BY VANESSA SALVIA
Eagle Park Slim — or Slim, as he is known to friends — is a popular figure in Eugene’s blues community. The guitarist and singer recently recorded a song with Keb’ Mo’ for Give Us Your Poor, a benefit CD to fight homelessness.
Slim took his name from his hometown of Eagle Park, Ill., where he learned the blues craft from musicians who played his mother’s nightclub, The Village Tavern. He came to Eugene in 1980 and was homeless for his first three years here. “I started playing in the streets and any place I could play to get some money,” says Slim. “And I was staying with anyone who would let me stay on their porch or let me stay in their room. People was nice to me, but I wanted my own place.” Slim joked to himself that he needed to find “a nice lady” to help him out. He came up with the song, “Baby, Don’t Let Me Go Homeless Tonight.”
A couple of years ago, an aspiring filmmaker named Jaymo suddenly found himself homeless and living out of his car. This experience inspired him to travel around the country filming a documentary, Have You Seen Clem?, about homelessness in America. Along the way, Jaymo came through Eugene and filmed … guess who? … Slim, playing “Baby, Don’t Let Me Go Homeless Tonight” in front of the UO Bookstore.
It was this movie connection that got Slim involved in the Give Us Your Poor CD. “[Jaymo] heard my music and it took off from there,” says Slim, in the same rich baritone in which he sings. The CD pairs well-known musicians with currently or formerly homeless musicians, and for Slim’s song, they picked Keb’ Mo’. “So they sent me to L.A. to record it with him.”
Working with Keb’ Mo’ was “just another experience” for the nonchalant Slim. “All I had to do was teach him the song,” says Slim. “He learned a couple verses and we just started playing. It came out pretty good.” The CD, which also contains collaborations featuring such notables as Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Bonnie Raitt, was released on September 25. Slim jokes, “They wanted us to give them our poor, and that’s what I did. It turned out to be my best!” Listen to a clip of the song “Baby, Don’t Let Me Go Homeless Tonight” at www.amazon.com/Give-Your-Poor-Bruce-Springsteen/dp/B000U1ZJ1E
Eagle Park Slim CD release party. 9:30 pm Friday, Oct. 4. Earl’s Juke Joint, Junction City. 998-5688