Blues Calendar Blues: Muddy Waters

The first Sunday in July arrives on the long holiday weekend this year. Outside, the weather is typically hot and wet, and there is a tropical storm out in the Atlantic that will likely become the first hurricane of the season.

The first Sunday of the month also brings the Blues Calendar Blues, the only recurring feature still recurring here. The featured artist this month is one of the greatest bluesmen of all time, McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield.

There is no way to overstate Muddy Waters’ influence not just on the blues, but on rock ‘n’ roll, and music as a whole. Waters helped Chuck Berry get his first record contract; the Rolling Stones took their name from one of his songs; Cream, Clapton, Dylan, Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin are just some of the musicians who have covered or adapted his songs. He has a marker in Clarksdale, Miss., on the Mississippi Blues Trail, to attest to the vital part he played in the development of the Mississippi blues. He’s a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, and, in 1992, was awarded a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement. In 1994, in what is probably one of the biggest mainstream statements of his importance to music, Muddy Waters’ image was printed on a U.S. 29-cent postage stamp.

From the calendar:
When Muddy Waters spoke about the music that accompanied and sustained the day’s work in the cotton fields of Mississippi, he said, “Every man would be hollerin’ but you didn’t pay that no mind...I can’t remember much of what I was singin’ now ‘ceptin I was always singin’ ‘I cain’t be satisfied, I be all troubled in mind.’”

That would have been around 1928. Twenty years later, Waters (1915-1983) recorded a song called “I Can’t Be Satisfied” that became his first hit. Other blues guitarists had played electrified instruments before him, but his distinctive combination of Delta blues and amplified sound changed music forever.

Early recordings by Alan and John Lomax had convinced many that the authentic blues could be played only on acoustic instruments, so when Waters arrived in London with an electric guitar, many purists were distressed and many rock musicians were impressed. The British Invasion would not have been possible with an American Infiltration.
Today’s music comes from two disks: Disk 1 of a 2005 four-disk compilation titled I Can’t Be Satisfied, and a 1986 album titled The Blues, Volume 1. The two Muddy Waters tracks from The Blues – “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Just Make Love to Me” – feature not just Muddy’s distinctive voice, but back up by Little Walter (harmonica), Jimmy Rogers (guitar), and Willie Dixon (bass).

Take a Walk With Me.mp3
I Be Bound to Write to You.mp3
You Got to Take Sick and Die Some of These Days.mp3
32-20 Blues.mp3
Hoochie Coochie Man.mp3
Just Make Love to Me.mp3



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