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Just like Bobby Dylan, at one point in his career, Muddy Waters went electric and defined Chicago style blues for a generation and beyond.
Don’t get me wrong, electric blues guitar is OK in moderation, but it can sound all the sound the same. The problem is that a thousand copies of Muddy Waters sings don’t make a Muddy Waters. It can get a bit blasé, but if you really want to understand the genius of the man, go right back to his acoustic blues roots, that’s where the magic all started.
Muddy Waters was a product of the Mississippi, like Robert Johnson, Johnny Shines, Mississippi John Hurt and Son House. He was recorded in the field, as it were, playing Walkin’ Blues bottleneck style in open G tuning on an acoustic guitar, and in the opinion of most people, it is every bit as good as RJ’s version – Muddy claims to have been playing it before Johnson recorded it, which seems quite reasonable, as there were many versions around the area at that time.
Muddy Waters Biography
American singer and guitarist Muddy Waters may have been born in Mississippi, but he defined Chicago blues with songs like “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man.”
Muddy Waters was born McKinley Morganfield on April 4, 1915, in Issaquena County, Mississippi. Waters grew up immersed in the Delta blues, and was first recorded by archivist Alan Lomax. In 1943, he moved to Chicago and began playing in clubs. A record deal followed, and hits like “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Rollin’ Stone” made him an iconic Chicago blues man.
Early LifeMuddy Waters was born McKinley Morganfield on April 4, 1915, in Issaquena County, Mississippi, a rural town on the Mississippi River. He was given the moniker “Muddy Waters” because he played in the swampy puddles of the Mississippi River as a boy. His father, Ollie Morganfield, was a farmer and a blues guitar player who separated from the family shortly after Waters was born.
When Waters was just 3 years old, his mother, Bertha Jones, died, and he was subsequently sent to Clarksdale to live with his maternal grandmother, Delia Jones.Waters began to play the harmonica around the age of 5, and became quite good. He received his first guitar at age 17, and taught himself to play by listening to recordings of Mississippi blues legends such as Charley Patton.
Although Waters spent countless hours working as a sharecropper at a cotton plantation, he found time to entertain folks around town with his music. In 1941, he joined the Silas Green Tent Show and began to travel.As he began to gain recognition, his ambition grew. Then, after Alan Lomax and John Work, archivists/researchers for the Library of Congress Field Recording project caught wind of Waters’s unique style, they sought him out to make a recording. The songs “Can’t Be Satisfied” and “Feel Like Going Home,” were among his first recorded.
Chicago and Mainstream Success
In 1943, Muddy Waters finally picked up and headed to Chicago, Illinois, where music was shaping a generation. The following year, his uncle gave him an electric guitar. It was with this guitar that he was able to develop the legendary style that transformed the rustic blues of the Mississippi with the urban vibe of the big city.
Working at a paper mill by day, Waters was sweeping the blues scene by night. By 1946, he had grown so popular that he had begun making recordings for big record companies such as RCA, Colombia and Aristocrat.(He landed a deal with Aristocrat with help of fellow Delta man Sunnyland Smith.) But his recordings with Aristocrat received little recognition.
It wasn’t until 1950, when Aristocrat became Chess Records, that Waters’s career really began to take off. With hits like “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Got My Mojo Working,” his sensual lyrics peaked interest in the young crowds of the city. “Rollin’ Stone,” one of his singles, became so popular that it went on to influence the name of the major music magazine as well as one of the most famous rock bands to date.
By 1951, Muddy Waters had established a full band with Otis Spann on piano, Little Walter on harmonica, Jimmy Rogers on second guitar and Elgin Evans on drums. The band’s recordings were increasingly popular in New Orleans, Chicago and the Delta region in the United States, but it wasn’t until 1958, when the group brought their electric blues sound to England, that Muddy Waters became an international star.
After the English tour, Waters’s fan base expanded and began to catch the attention of the rock ‘n’ roll community. His performance at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival was a particularly pivotal point in his career, as it caught the attention of a new fan base. Waters was able to adapt to the changing times, and his electric blues sound fit in well with the “love generation.”Waters continued to record with rock musicians throughout the 1960s and ’70s, and won his first Grammy Award in 1971 for the album They Call me Muddy Waters.
After his 30-year run with Chess Records, he went his separate way in 1975, suing the record company for royalties after his final release with them: Muddy Waters Woodstock Album. Waters signed on with Blue Sky Label after the split. He then captivated audiences with his appearance in The Band’s farewell performance, known as “The Last Waltz,” an exceptionally star-studded affair that was released as a film by Martin Scorsese in 1978.
Death and Legacy
By the end of his lifetime, Muddy Waters had garnered six Grammys as well as countless other honors. He died after suffering a heart attack on April 30, 1983, in Downers Grove, Illinois.Since his death, Waters’s contribution to the music world has continued to gain recognition. In 1987, Waters was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Five years later, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded the musician a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. Additionally, some of the most recognizable names in music have named Muddy Waters as their single-greatest influence, including Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Johnny Winter.
Citation – Article Source: http://www.biography.com/people/muddy-waters-9525002
Muddy Waters Blues Songs Youtube
Muddy Waters Songs
Strangely enough, it was the British rock scene which which provided the impetus for bringing such giants as Muddy Waters to the public’s attention.
It’s quite amazing that teenagers in Europe two thousand miles away found their spiritual musical home in the blues. It just wasn’t part of the culture over there, but there was something about the driving beat and the soulful melancholy that just struck a chord – many new guitar players were hungry to learn the blues and wanted the real thing, which was over in the States.
In the fifties Big Bill Broonzy toured the UK, Germany and other countries to great acclaim, paving the way for what was to come as the Brit groups at the time battled their way through folk, skiffle and then came the Blues!
Muddy Waters Rolling Stones Link
The story goes that a young Keith Richards of Rolling Stones fame was itching to meet and play guitar with Muddy Waters, and so journeyed across the pond to search him out at Chess Records in Chicago – found him at Chess records alright, but painting the ceiling with a set of overalls on! The great blues man explained that a ‘blues man gotta make a buck wherever he can’. It just goes to show that the life of others, and particularly legends that the public elevates to ‘icon’ status, is never what we think it is. They’re just people, but we need them to be more.
Early Life: The Mississippi Delta Years
Imagine yourself walking down a dusty street in the Mississippi Delta in 1933. A young man is sitting on the sidewalk playing an old guitar and singing a sad song. You listen for a moment, and for some reason you feel a little better about your own troubles. You’ve just felt the power of the blues. The young man’s name is Muddy, and one day he will be one of the most influential musicians in the world.
Muddy Waters’ early life in the Mississippi Delta remains somewhat of a mystery. Even the date of his birth is hard to pin down, but somewhere between 1913 and 1915 he was born in Issaquena County, Mississippi. His mother named him McKinley Morganfield, but everyone called him Muddy because it’s said he enjoyed playing in the local creek. Muddy later took the stage name Muddy Waters.
As a child, Muddy listened to music when he went to church. He also heard the music played at parties and in the streets. That music was called the blues. Blues musicians, or bluesmen, played acoustic instruments, such as the guitar, and they sang down to earth, sensual songs about the struggles of being poor and black in the rural South. Some called it the devil’s music, but Muddy loved the blues.
Muddy learned to play the harmonica, and he tried to sing like blues legend Son House. Inspired by the records of great bluesman Robert Johnson, Muddy took up the guitar. In 1941, at the Stovall Plantation near Clarksdale, Mississippi, Muddy performed for researchers from the Library of Congress, where his music was first recorded. Many of the songs he sang would later become Muddy Waters’ classics, including ‘I Feel Like Going Home’ and ‘I Can’t Be Satisfied.’ These are the oldest known recordings of Muddy’s music.
Chicago: Electrifying the Blues
In 1943, Muddy left his sharecropper farm and headed north. He moved to Chicago where he met one of Chicago’s top bluesmen, Big Bill Broonzy. They became friends, and from then on Big Bill was a big influence on the way Muddy approached his life and music.
Muddy played at house parties and at South Side blues clubs. He soon discovered that his acoustic guitar could not be heard over the big city crowds. Looking for a solution he tried a relatively new instrument called the electric guitar. The moment Muddy plugged in his electric guitar, blues music changed forever. He combined the electric guitar’s unique sounds with the style of the acoustic delta blues, and this new electric-based, urban style would come to be called the Chicago blues.
In 1948, Muddy signed a contract with Chess Records. He recorded many hits for the Chess label, including ‘I Can’t Be Satisfied’ (1948), ‘Rollin’ Stone’ (1950), ‘I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man’ (1954), ‘Mannish Boy’ (1955), and ‘Got My Mojo Working’ (1957) all of which were destined to become classics.
Muddy’s band now included some of Chicago’s best bluesmen, including Little Walter Jacobs (harmonica), Jimmy Rogers (guitar), Otis Spann (piano), and Elga Edmonds (drums). Muddy had become one of the top musicians in Chicago. It was time for him to help the rest of the world discover the power of the blues.
Muddy Inspires a New Generation
Muddy left Chicago in 1958 and took his music to England. He was surprised to find the English knew and loved the blues. In the U.S., the blues had remained relatively unknown outside of the African-American community.
However, the British had never heard anything like Muddy’s brand of Chicago blues. The loud, wailing, soulful sounds that came from his electric guitar would influence many of the great English rock guitarists of the 1960s, including Cream’s Eric Clapton, the Beatles’ George Harrison, and the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards.
The Rolling Stones even named themselves after Muddy’s song ‘Rollin’ Stone.’ These young Englishmen mixed the blues with rock and roll and sent it back to America in the form of 1960s rock. With the help of this British Invasion, blues music left the delta and Chicago’s South Side and conquered the rest of the world.
Muddy Waters Blues
Even if the man’s songs were pretty much to a formula, his fans just don’t care. Listen to a typical Waters songs ‘I’m A Man’, a theme which crops up again and again in the blues. Things may come and go, but I’m A Man , and that’s all that counts for you women out there!
The verse might start with a very sparse riff, before being accentuated with a short line of verse. There are probably more spaces in the songs than notes, but Muddy Waters is a master of using that space to speak volumes. Guitarists often say that it’s not what you play that makes the mood, but what you leave out, that’s the secret. The spaces speak the Truth, and that’s a fact. Rock on muddy!
Muddy Waters Lyrics – Mannish Boy
Everything gonna be alright this mornin’
Now, when I was a young boy
At the age of five
My mother said I was gonna be
The greatest man alive
But now I’m a man
I’m age twenty-one
I want you to believe me, honey
We having lots of fun
I’m a man (yeah)
I spell M
That represent man
That spell mannish boy
I’m a man
I’m a full-grown man
I’m a man
I’m a rollin’ stone
I’m a man
I’m a hoochie-coochie man
Sittin’ on the outside
Just me and my mate
I’m made to move
Come up two hours late
Wasn’t that a man?
I spell M
That represesnt man
That spell mannish boy
I’m a man
I’m a full-grown man
I’m a man
I’m a rolllin’ stone
I’m a man
ELLAS MCDANIEL, MCKINLEY MORGANFIELD, MELVIN LONDON
Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC