Howard “Slim” Hunt’s personal history is a fascinating and richly woven narrative that not only tells his story, but paints a vivid picture of a defining era in the life of America and her people. No words can recount it better than those of the man himself:
“I grew up in Walnut Grove, Mississippi, a little town of several thousand folks, about 60 miles west of Jackson. We had a town square, with a big cedar tree right in the middle, and a bank and some stores. On Saturdays it was so busy with the wagons and cars and people shopping that you couldn’t walk down the street without bumping into somebody. The town was broken down into `quarters.’ The rich folks and the bad folks and the preachers and the poor folks all had their own quarters.
“In the late 30′s and early 40′s, my people were sharecroppers. We picked cotton and grew corn for feed. I mean to tell you, I came up on the rough side. That was during the war and times were tough. If we got two pairs of shoes in a year-one pair for work and school, and a Sunday pair too, we thanked God because that meant it had been a good year.
“My mother and grandma were God fearing women who went to church all the time and read the Bible a lot. By the time I was four years old, I was singing at our church, and family get togethers…neighbors houses, sometimes with my three older sisters. I remember working in the fields-I must’ve been eight or nine-and a plane would fly overhead. I’d get to daydreaming, and tell my mother how one day I’d be traveling, too. She’d fuss at me and say, `You’d better get back to work, boy. If I get that switch after you, you’re gonna do some travelin’ right now!’
“But I knew there was no future in farming, and when I was 17 I moved to New Orleans and lived with my sister and brother in law. I stayed there about six months. I worked down on the riverfront on a sightseeing boat called The Steamer President. It would take 350 people 15 miles up the Mississippi and back, twice a day. Even then, I would sing. I’d made up a song called, Stop Right Now, It’s Prayin’ Time. I’d sing so loud, the other guys started calling me `Stop Right Now,’ instead of Howard. I didn’t have any plans then, for music or anything else. I was trying to find myself in life. The Lord had a calling on me, but I just couldn’t see it at the time.
“The following year, in 1953, when I was 18 years old, I moved to Milwaukee to stay with my oldest sister, working for a plumbing company. That didn’t last and I was out of work until I heard about a group that needed a baritone singer. So I started on with them, but I still didn’t know singing was going to be a career. Howard “Slim” Hunt, lead singer of “Slim & the Supreme Angels” quartet, passed away on Sunday, February 25, 2007 in North Carolina. Main Source The Malaco Music Group