New music from The Replacements is reason to cheer, but the reason behind the reunion recordings isn't.

In recent weeks the music world has been abuzz with the news that former Replacements Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson recorded 4 new songs together.  Awesome news, right?  Who isn’t excited about a potential Replacements reunion? But if you peel back the layers to reveal the reason for Paul and Tommy’s reunion, this oh-so-great-news takes on a bittersweet flavor.

The story really starts in February of 2012, when Bob “Slim” Dunlap suffered a massive stroke. Dubbed by fans “the replacement Replacement”, Slim joined The Replacements in 1987 after guitarist Bob Stinson was asked to leave the band because of his drug and alcohol issues. Coming on board right around the release of “Pleased to Meet Me”, Slim went from being a journeyman musician and Minneapolis nightclub janitor to touring with the band, playing large venues, and even opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. An active Replacement until the band’s breakup in 1991, Slim continued being active member of the Minneapolis music community, touring with Dan Baird (ex-Georgia Satellites) in 1991, and releasing 2 solo albums, “The Old New Me” and “Times Like This.”  But sadly, due to multiple complications since his stroke, Slim spent most of 2012 in rehabilitation.  Finally released from the hospital last November, he continues to need expensive medicine, nursing care and ongoing rehab. Enter, the fundraisers.

The “Songs for Slim” benefit EP features 5 songs, 4 of which are Westerberg and Stinson covers: Slim’s “Busted Up”, Gordon Lightfoot’s “I’m Not Sayin’”, “Lost Highway” (once made famous by Hank Williams), and surprisingly “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”  The 5th track is a cover of Slim’s “Radio Hook Word Hit”  by ex-Replacement Chris Mars, who also contributed the cover artwork for the EP.  The EP’s are limited to mere 250 copies, and are currently up for auction on Ebay now.

Don’t worry if you don’t get the winning bid on one of these though, digital and mass produced music will be available in the future, along with future benefit tracks from Steve EarleLucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan , John DoeJoe HenryThe JayhawksFrank Black + The Suicide Commandos,  Craig Finn from The Hold SteadyTim O’Reagan & Jim Boquist, The Minus 5 (Scott McCaugheyPeter BuckNate Query & John Moen) featuring Curtiss A,   The Young Fresh FellowsNRBQ,  You Am ITommy KeeneDeer TickRamblin’ Jack ElliottLucero,  and more to be announced!

Other ways to help Slim include the far more affordable downloading of the new Chris Mars track here for just $.99

Or simply giving from the heart at the fundraiser page set up by Slim’s daughter Delia Dunlap and friend Dan Baird

Down on your luck?  Just sending a kind word never hurts either.  You can keep up with Slim’s latest news provided by his wife Chrissie and daughter Delia on his facebook page.