I understand that the world doesn’t need another review or opinion on Muddy Waters and his music. Well, but since we’ve recently discussed a lot of other contemporary blues guitarists and artist, I think today’s ‘Muddy Waters Chicago Blues – The Blues Collection’ review fits nicely in line. If you’ve been following my guitar blog lately, that I’m currently covering all my remaining issues of what’s left from my ‘The Blues Collection’, which was a monthly issued magazine and CD featuring all different kinds of blues greats across the board and sub-genres. As I had mentioned before, if you are a collector, it might get tricky to find a willing seller. My best bet would be ebay at this point.
Anyway, as usual, the magazine covers Muddy Water’s life from beginning to end. Of course, we are not talking about a comprehensive or complete Muddy Waters biography. However, I certainly learned a few interesting details about this unique blues interpreter. Also, mind you, ‘The Blues Collection’ came out in the mid-nineties at which point the internet was not really an available resource to people like me.
Muddy Waters’ real name was McKinley Morganfield. He was born on April 4th, 1915 in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Shortly thereafter, another renowned blues star was born in the same State in the town of Vicksburg: Mr. Willie Dixon.
After the death of his mother in 1918, Muddy lived with his grandmother on a cotton field (Clarksdale cotton farm). He started playing the harp at an early age and by 1932, he lays hands on his first guitar. Nine years later, the folklorist Alan Lomax records two of Muddy’s songs for the archive of the congress library. Those songs are ‘Country Blues’ and ‘I Be’s Troubled’.
In 1943, Muddy moves to Chicago where he gigs the clubs of the south-side. He also became friends with other blues musicians such as Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Boy Williamson I, Sunnyland Slim and Eddie Boyd. Five years later, Muddy records at Chess Studios the song ‘I Can’t Be Satisfied’ which is essentially a re-issue of ‘I Be’s Troubled’. Bill Crawford plays bass on this tune. Shortly after that, he records a number of tracks for which later on helped his rise to Blues all-star fame: ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’’, Rolling Stone’, ‘Walking Blues’, ‘Louisiana Blues’ and ‘Evans Shuffle’.
Still working under the Chess label, Muddy produces yet another set of hits such as ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ and ‘Blow Wind Blow’. In 1954 however, the arguably most famous Muddy Waters song was put on tape: ‘I Just Wanna make Love To You’. And things only get better, at least from a productivity perspective. Two more Muddy Waters classics become available, namely: ‘Just To Be With You’ and ‘Got My Mojo Working’.
Muddy’s career reaches an important milestone in the year 1960 as he plays in NYC at the Carnegie Hall and at the Newport Jazz Festival. These performances introduce Muddy to a broad audience of white listeners. Just prior to those two gigs, Muddy recorded two pieces with his friend Big Bill Broonzy: ‘Lonesome Road Blues’ and ‘Southbound Train’.
In 1962, an ambitious group of four young British men decide to name their band after one of Muddy’s blues hits – the ‘Rolling Stones’ are born and the rest, well, it’s well-known history.
But Muddy’s influence didn’t stop with the Rolling Stones. Many other Rock acts are eager to work with Muddy. As a result of a number of collaborations, the psychedelic album ‘Electric Mud’ is put together, featuring a cover of the Rolling Stones classic ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’.
In 1976, Muddy leaves his long time label Chess and signs a contract with ‘Blue Sky’. He produces his last album ‘King Bee’ before he dies on April 30, 1983 in Westmont, Illinois.
Let’s take a look at the ‘Muddy Waters Chicago Blues – The Blues Collection’ CD track list:
1. Baby, Please Don’t Go
2. Soon Forgotten
3. Corrine, Corrina
4. After Hours
5. Howlin’ Wolf
6. Junior Shuffle
7. I’m Your Hoochie Coockie Man
8. Floyd’s Guitar Blues
9. J.P.’s Boogie
10. Goin’ Down Slow
11. What’s The Matter With The Mill?
Alright, that’s it. If you have any question that I haven’t answered here or in my video review above, please just leave a comment below. Again, this issue of ‘The Blues Collection’ comes highly recommended and might be an interesting object for collectors with a basic command of German.