Muddy Waters

The great Muddy Waters, the Father of Chicago Blues born McKinley Morganfield, passed away on this day in 1983.

He was an inspiration to many, including David, so let us know what you think of the video and the genre, including your favourite blues songs and musicians.

For me, ‘I’m a Man’ and ‘Mannish Boy’ aside, the finest ever blues track has to be Howlin’ Wolf’s unforgettable ‘Smokestack Lightning’. What a tune.

I’d particularly like it if you could also recommend a less well-known blues number.

I suggest this one, ‘Hoodoo Man Blues’, by Junior Wells. Hope you like it.

If you don’t care for the music as such, as well as being a remarkably talented guitar player, Muddy was also a more-than-capable cook. His website includes a selection of his personal recipes, which, having spent considerable time discussing food both here and in the chatroom, I am sure will be of interest to some of you.

41 comments

  1. Dave Dickens

    For me, one of the best lesser known but remarkable blues artists is a singer-songwriter named Chris Smither. He is originally from New Orleans but has resided just outside Boston for a number of years.

    Chris has an extensive catalogue, but I highly recommend three of his songs: No Love Today, The Devil’s Real, and Link of Chain.

    For those interested, he has an excellent live album out entitled Live As I’ll Ever Be.

    Interestingly, he mics his feet and wears leather-soled shoes and provides his own percussion during live performances.

  2. Ax

    Muddy Waters rocks!

    FEd, I’m sure you have seen it, but if not you need to check out the film the Last Waltz. It’s the final concert of The Band, directed by Scorsese. Muddy does a great set!

  3. GEM

    Don’t Start Me Talkin’ – Sonny Boy Williamson
    Tell Me Mama – Little Walter
    Dust My Broom – Elmore James

  4. lorsomething

    Ah, the blues… my favorite (besides Pink Floyd and the Beatles of course). I would highly recommend Gotta Leave by Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam. You can find it here.

    Some of my favorites are anything by Back Door Slam, Clapton (Ain’t Going Down or just anything), Robin Trower (Hannah or just anything), Box of Frogs (Back Where I Started) and many, many more.

  5. NewYorkDan

    I am partial to Robert Johnson. THERE was an innovator in the realm of Blues! What an awesome talent! He knew how to work a guitar.

    Perhaps my fave is Hindu Love Gods, AKA R.E.M. with Warren Zevon. Their album is an amazing assortment of blues standards and unexpected songs, notably Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” given the blues treatment.

    Here in the area of Albany, NY there is an 85 year-old bluesman called Ernie Williams. He is a local legend, because he has played with them all and now he makes this area home. He made his own guitar as a boy, at a time when he couldn’t afford to buy one.

  6. Blake in Nashville

    I love Muddy Waters. My father was born in Greenwood MS in the summer of 1938. Robert Johnson was killed in Greenwood MS in the summer of 1938.

    I have spent many days driving through the area of town where the old blues musicians played and hung-out… the shanty-town. I have always been fascinated with the delta… its cotton fields and dirt roads. It is also very very hot there.

    The music that originated from that area is in my blood and in my soul. It is truly historical.

    Blake in Nashville

  7. Ulli

    Hi Fed,

    I´d like to let you know that the German channel 3sat is re-airing David’s Live in Gdansk tomorrow, May 1st, 12.15.

    Happy May 1st,
    Ulli

  8. John nff

    Those were great FEd!

    In my youth, I went through about a 2 year phase where “the blues” is all I would listen to (much to the chagrin of the people around me).

    After hearing it all, I have to say that I’m partial to a more simpler acoustic style blues. One of my most precious albums that still sees regular rotation on the old turntable is ‘Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee In London’.

    Here’s an example for those who may not know who they are… enjoy.

    • Gabrielle, Washington State

      Good call, John!

      Sonny & Brownie were part of a blues/folk scene that was happening in the early ’60s.

      Howlin’ Wolf, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Muddy Waters, and a bunch more true bluesmen played the Newport Folk Festival alongside the likes of Pete Seeger, Theodore Bikel, Joan Baez, The Weavers, PP&M, Bob Dylan, etc.

      But Sonny & Brownie, along with Odetta, were three of the few blues musicians who were able to get air-play and carry on in that blues/folk genre which is where I found them. Like this and this from Odetta .

      Oddly enough, like so many other Americans, I got my biggest blues infusion via British musicians who soaked it up and sent it back over the Atlantic in the early-mid ’60s. 8) Only then did we truly get tuned in to the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy and the rest. Thanks for that! :)

    • John nff

      Gabrielle, thanks for the Odetta reminder… truly a sparkling blue jewel.

      Have you noticed that all the YouTube S.T.& B.M, and Odetta clips all have 5 star ratings?

      I’m really afraid that I’m going to have an ‘all I want to listen to is blues’ relapse. I’ll blame FEd for this when people around me start to complain…

  9. Graham Knight

    I have only got into Muddy Waters & B.B. King for that matter within the last decade, I missed out for song long.

    As for Muddy’s pork chop recipe, I do something similar but substitute the breadcrumbs for stuffing of whatever flavour you happen to have in the cupboard at the time, works for me anyway.

  10. Fran

    I’ve never been a big fan of the blues, but I always enjoy seeing David play with B.B. King.

  11. Matt

    My first foray into the blues was the B.B. King Medley from the “Duane Allman/an Anthology” record. If you’ve never heard it you should as it’s phenomenal. The Allmans covered Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon tunes and Foghat had great success with a shared song, “I Just Want To Make Love To You” written by Dixon.

    Both of these artists’ influence on future generations of fans is endless…

  12. Pete - Coventry

    Paul Rogers (ex Free and Bad Company) made a really excellent album of Muddy Waters covers.

    The list of guest guitar players (including David if memory serves) was awesome.

  13. Rudders - Toronto

    The Blues is a favourite of mine…

    Many years ago I met the Blues Brothers Band who were touring in the UK.

    I met the band and we enjoyed an evening together in a local hostelry… the band were amazed at their popularity and were quite humble.

    I asked Alan Rubin if his nickname, Mr Fabulous, was just for the film. He handed me a card and said “My Corporation is called Mr Fabulous” with a big beaming smile… he also invited me to dinner the next time I was in New York. :)

    Donald “Duck” Dunn told me that even though he had very few lines in the film he had one that summed up the band: “We had a band so good it could turn Goat Piss into Gasoline.”

    Their parting gesture was to hand me a signed album cover… which was nice.

  14. Gary H

    I was lucky to see The Blues Caravan in 2008, and “discovered” Sue Foley (16 years too late) – check out Mother and Absolution for starters.

    Also on the bill was a true newcomer, Joanne Shaw Taylor.

    The blues is alive and better looking than ever before…

  15. Taki

    Hi FEd,

    I tried to add a comment to “nuclear energy” using 2 different computers but as it seems without success. Now I try my last PC and hope that this will come through…

    I looked the recipes up but they are nothing for a veggie as I am. 😉 The music of course is great!

    Talking about blues, I very like Hendrix’s album “Blues” and some very early recordings of his, when he played for others.

    Best regards,
    Taki

    • FEd

      I tried to add a comment to “nuclear energy” using 2 different computers but as it seems without success. Now I try my last PC and hope that this will come through…

      Sorry about that, Taki; it has now been recovered from the pits of hell (the spam queue) and is where it should be.

      Always good to hear from you.

  16. Gabrielle, Washington State

    Hey, FEd ~

    This one’s for you. 😛

    I wish I could say I heard the original Howlin’ Wolf version first, but I’d be a liar. The Yardbirds turned me on to the song, the original came to me later, but I do love ’em both for sentimental reasons. 😀

    • FEd

      Very nice.

      The Yardbirds were pretty good, weren’t they? Eric Clapton must have only been about 18 when he played that.

      We must have an Eric Clapton Day soon.

  17. mondo

    Never really knew anything about Muddy Waters until last night. BBC4 had some great documentaries on the first US Blues players that came to UK. Muddy Waters was spoken about. Gotta say I’m hooked.

    Great guy, great music.

  18. Alessandra

    “Long Distance Call”, “She’s Nineteen Years Old” and “Walking Thru the Park” are some of my favourite Muddy Waters’ songs.

    I didn’t like the blues when I was younger, but I changed my mind when I started listening to Jimi Hendrix and I discovered a song such as “Red House”.

    Now I listen to the blues with pleasure. I like Elmore James and B.B. King, even if I’m very far from knowing all their music.

    I hope you enjoyed your 1st of May. :)

  19. Piero

    Hi Fed and everybody,

    my favourite blues musicians are John Lee Hooker, John Hammond, BB King, Muddy Waters and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

    Have a nice weekend.

    How are you all? I hope things are going well!

  20. frank par

    Muddy Waters was an inspiration for many. Way to go Fed, I’m really impressed.

    My brother has an album I can’t remember offhand with Muddy in a white robe. Darn it! Aaaargh! 8|

  21. frank par

    I personally met Junior Wells in Toronto with my friend one time long ago.

    He wore a hat and olive suit. The band was fantastic, the guitarist, sorry I can’t remember, was unreal.

    The Brunswick House in Toronto was a happening event always, that was where I saw Jeff Healey play so many times so many years ago. Memories! :)

  22. Thomas O'Connell

    I would have to say Johnny Winters really is a good blues player and one of the best blues album I have ever heard was Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac’s in Chicago with Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy, Otis Spann, Shakey Horton, J.T. Brown, Honeyboy Edwards and S.P. Leary.

    Fed, if you really enjoy the blues give this album a listen for I know you’ll really enjoy it.

    I hope everyone will have a good and safe weekend.

    Take Care,
    Thomas

  23. Gabrielle, Washington State

    This is one of my favorite clips from a documentary on the Newport Folk Festival, featuring Son House along with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. I love the dialogue from Son House and Mike Bloomfield, two very different people with very different backgrounds, but with a shared passion for the blues. Butterfield’s performance kicks ass, too!

    Enjoy. :)

  24. Stephen Barnhart

    “Tom Cat”~from “Electric Mud”, song by Charles Williams, but fantastic version by Muddy!

    Saw Muddy in 1991 at Doolies in Tempe AZ.

    The only two CD cases my dog tried to eat was, believe it or not, Muddy Waters’ Electric Mud, and David Gilmour’s On an Island. The CDs are untouched but the cases still have chunks out of them… a little something to remember my dog by… Ruby loves the good stuff!

    Early Blues;~
    Skip James~Devil Got my Women
    Mississippi Sheiks~ He Calls That Religion
    Louie Lasky~ How You Want Your Rollin Done
    Hunter and Jenkins~ Lollypop
    Big Joe and His Washboard Band~If You Take Me Back
    Blind Willie Johnson~ When The War Was on
    Unknown~ Last Kind Word Blues

    Muddy Years~
    Mississippi Fred McDowell~ Good Morning Little School Girl
    Memphis Slim~ Cow Cow Blues
    James Cotton Band~ Fanny Mae
    Johnny Otis~ Barrelhouse Blue
    Albert King~ Born Under a Bad Sign
    Buddy Guy~Damn Right I Got The Blues
    B.B. King~ The Thrill is Gone

    Modern Blues~
    Kenney Wayne Shepard~ Born With na Broken Heart
    Robert Cray~ Phone Booth
    Koko Taylor~ It Took a Long Time
    Joe Lewis Walker~ Blues of The Month Club
    Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble~Ain’t Gone ‘n’ Give up on Love.
    Bonnie Raitt~ Luck of The Draw

    I know, some of those people cross over from time periods.

  25. Michèle

    He was good cook? You’re serious? Well, I had a look at each of the eight selected recipes and, sorry, but I don’t think I would have liked to visit his kitchen. 😉

    Oh, I certainly would prefer to visit David’s kitchen, I’m sure he is a much better cook, I wonder what his favourite recipe is…

    • Michèle

      More seriously, I like the young blues singer and guitarist Jonny Lang. I think he was only 15 years old when he recorded ‘Lie To Me’ – here. Very talented.

      He also played with the greatest blues players, like here with Buddy Guy. Amazing, I think.

    • FEd

      What a terrible waste of peanut butter and bananas. I can forgive Elvis for Harum Scarum, but fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches? That’s just asking too much.

  26. jan

    Also, a big Sarah Vaughn fan.

    Sorry, don’t have much time for thinking this through today.

    Jan

  27. aru58

    Born and raised in Mississippi was considered a handicap to me when I was young. After growing up and consuming as much music as I could, I now am honored to be a Mississippian. I still go to the music hot spots and the music and atmosphere is timeless…

  28. Cody Watson

    All I have to say is:

    Bring Me My Shotgun – Lightnin’ Hopkins