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Gary "Alaska" Sloan

"Alaska Slim" Gary Sloan
Born June 28, 1945 Los Angeles California.
Currently living in Diamond City, Arkansas
e-mail: alaska@diamondcity.net
mailing address: P.O.Box 1348 Diamond City AR 72630

BIO

Gary arrived in Alaska in 1964 and stayed until 1995. He had sung in church and school choir, so it wasn't much of a stretch to become the animated lead singer of a Top 40 band.


Gary Performing at King Biscuit in 1996

A year later, upon hearing the first Butterfield and Musselwhite albums, he picked up the harp and added blues to the mix. By the next year all other types of music was dropped and "Proof" became the only Alaskan blues band.

When Jimmy Reed died, Gary called JOHN LEE HOOKER at home and brought him up to tour the state. By this time (1971) Lindy Raines had been lead guitarist for several years. John told them a harmonica player was sleeping on his couch and needed work: CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE, who was the next to tour with the band. Word of mouth from those two spread and in the next 20 years Gary and Lindy would tour with BO DIDDLEY twice, HOOKER 2 more times as well as JIMMY ROGERS, PHILLIP WALKER, SLEEPY LaBEEF, ELVIN BISHOP, ANGELA STREHLI and many others. Some artists, such as MARIA MULDAR, ELVIN BISHOP and CHUCK BERRY would borrow the band (or members of it) from time to time as well.

Band & Musical History

HARVEY MANDEL and ABU TALIB (FREDDY ROBINSON) play guitar on two of Garys CDs ("BLUE SHOES" and "SKULL"). The band name changed to "Southside Blues" and Larry Raines would join or alternate with his brother on lead guitar. An out-of-print vinyl LP of that name was released in 1980. It was re-pressed and more cassettes made a year later. Two cassette only albums were released in 1984 and 1986.

In 1992 the first CD "Blue Shoes" was released, and in 1996 portions were rerecorded for the re-pressing, making it also the most recent addition. In 1994 the live "SKULL" was released, followed in 1995 by "Dedicated to Binky ", a collection of Alaskan blues songs. Garys first two albums (with "Proof" in 1969 and 1971) have fetched up to $400.00 from european collectors, as they were limited and long out-of-print.

Awards

In 1995 upon moving to Arkansas, he came to Jonesboro to see Blues Fest and ended up playing with AARON LOVE and HAIRY LARRY. When going to see the King Biscuit Festival he entered the blues competition and won first place (he asked the band on before him to stay and back him: only the drummer and guitarist did). He came back the following year and won first place again for the Sonny Boy Blues Society as well as in Little Rock: Three first place showings in less then a year got him spots on the King Biscuit Festival, Riverfest and the Eureka Springs Blues Festival.

Members of his current band are Bill Trumbauer, drums; Curt Rosy, electric & acoustic bass; Mike Elrod, electric & acoustic guitar.

Achievements

Gary has jammed with MUDDY WATERS, JOHN MAYALL, JORMA KAUOKENEN, JOHN CIPOLLINA, JAMES COTTON & band, LUTHER 'GUITAR JR' JOHNSON & band, WYNTON MARSALIS Band, REESE WYNANS, LEE OSKAR, NORTON BUFFALO, ELVIN BISHOP, BILLY PRESTON, JOHN WESTON, LAZY LESTER, BRODY BUSTER, KINGFISH (with DAVE TORBERT & BOB WIER) and N.R.P.S. (with JERRY GARCIA) among others. Gary organized two tours (with a horn section) for WOLFMAN JACK revues in 1989 and 1992, backing FREDDY CANNON, DEL SHANNON, COASTERS, DRIFTERS, PLATTERS, TOKENS, SHIRELLES, MARY WELLES, BO DIDDLEY and LITTLE ANTHONY as well as the WOLFMAN himself. He was featured in a Maxwell House coffee ad in 1994 playing, of all things, a harmonica player!

In November 1996 he went to Belgrade, Serbia to headline a blues festival (Jr. Wells headlined the first night, Gary the second), tour Yugoslavia and produce a CD by the band that backed him 'RAWHIDE". He returned in April 1997 to tour to support that CD. This took him to cities that no American had ever visited and happened in between the two wars. He still keeps in contact with his friends there via e-mail.

Discography

CDs $15, Cassettes $10 plus $1.50 per order ($3.00 international) for shipping and handling

CD only: "BLUE SHOES' (features HARVEY MANDEL, ABU TALIB and the RAINES BROTHERS)

CD only:"SKULL" (live) (features HARVEY, ABU, LINDY RAINES and RICK HOLMSTROM)

CD and cassette: "DEDICATED TO BINKY" (Alaska blues novelty songs)

cassette only: "ALASKA SLIM LIVE: ARKANSAS TO YUGOSLAVIA" (at King Biscuit with LINDY RAINES and Belgrade Bluesfest with RAWHIDE)

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