McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913 – April 30, 1983), known professionally as Muddy Waters, was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician…..who is often cited as the “father of modern Chicago blues“….as he was an important figure on the post-war blues scene….whereby his style of playing has been described as “raining down Delta beatitude”.
Muddy Waters grew up on Stovall Plantation near Clarksdale, Mississippi….who by age 17 was playing the guitar and the harmonica….while emulating the local blues artists Son House and Robert Johnson. He was recorded in Mississippi by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941….then in 1943, he moved to Chicago to become a full-time professional musician…..and recorded his first records for Columbia Records in 1946….and then for Aristocrat Records….which was a newly formed label run by the brothers Leonard and Phil Chess.
In the early 1950’s, Muddy Waters and his band….with Little Walter Jacobs on harmonica….Jimmy Rogers on guitar….Elga Edmonds (also known as Elgin Evans) on drums….and Otis Spann on piano….plus on several blues classics bassist and songwriter Willie Dixon would join Waters band…..which included songs like “Hoochie Coochie Man”….“I Just Want to Make Love to You”….and “I’m Ready”. In 1958, he traveled to England, laying the foundations of the resurgence of interest in the blues there. His performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960 was recorded and released as his first live album, At Newport 1960. Muddy Waters’ music has influenced various American music genres, including rock and roll and rock music.
In August 1941, Alan Lomax went to Stovall, Mississippi, on behalf of the Library of Congress to record various country blues musicians. “He brought his stuff down and recorded me right in my house” Muddy recalled for Rolling Stone magazine, “and when he played back the first song I sounded just like anybody’s records. Man, you don’t know how I felt that Saturday afternoon when I heard that voice and it was my own voice. Later on he sent me two copies of the pressing and a check for twenty bucks, and I carried that record up to the corner and put it on the jukebox. Just played it and played it and said, ‘I can do it, I can do it.'”….and Lomax came back in July 1942 to record him again…..as both sessions were eventually released by Testament Records as Down on Stovall’s Plantation. The complete recordings were reissued by Chess Records on CD as Muddy Waters: The Complete Plantation Recordings. The Historic 1941–42 Library of Congress Field Recordings in 1993 and remastered in 1997.
In this video herewith, Muddy Waters performs I’m A Man on stage with The Band at their Last Waltz concert….and as you can imagine….we are “tickled pink” to have this “nugget of gold” in our treasure chest of vintage memories here at ImaSportsphile.