Muddy Waters

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McKingley Morganfield (1913 or 1914 or 1915-Forever)

“Tum-Tum-Tudu-Tum, The Gypsy Woman Told My Mother, Tum-Tum-Tudu-Tum”

Muddy Waters… No Blues should be mentioned without giving credit to Muddy Waters.
The man was a bridge between the Delta and the Radio. The man had taught himself, brought himself and left himself remembered for the ages to come.

It is often noted that Willie Dixon wrote his songs, Little Walter played his harp, many others did the work around him and Muddy was only a brand. Well, Muddy was a great brand surrounded by a great team in their prime and all great factors fell together to make the man who he was and is now considered. I do not feel that it would be fair to degrade any of it, since much of Muddy’s luck walked toe to toe with his genuine work and effort.

Born in Mississippi with a large family out in a country, life was rough. Muddy lost his mother early and his grandmother raised him for the most part. Everybody had to work on the farm and most time it was hard labor and no schooling.

At 9 years old Muddy started playing Harmonica and by 13 he recalls getting pretty good at it and performing in the area. By the age 17-18 Muddy switched to guitar and caught eye of a Library of Congress researcher who was recording different Delta Blues Musicians at the time. After hearing his own voice, Muddy realized that it was something he could do, something he wanted to do and moved to Chicago in 1943 to make everybody else hear that voice.

He was a trailblazer, a father of the Chicago Blues, working at day, playing in joints at night, Muddy Waters brought booming fame to various Blues music genres, Blues Guitar styles and so on.

By early 50’s Chess Records signed Muddy and he began performing alongside Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry,  Buddy Guy and many others.

For the first time ever, records made for a narrow audience had a crossover to a wide national public fame. Everywhere you could hear these records, Muddy was on every station, booked by the minute.

Over the years, Muddy’s fame spread globally and he toured across Europe successfully creating a tremendous fan base that spread throughout generations.

At the end of April 1983, Muddy died in his sleep. B.B. King told later that it was going to be many years until public realizes how much this man had done for the Blues as we know it and how much modern guitar music is influenced by him. I agree.

To me, “Hoochie Coochie Man” was the first tune I tried to play, the day I got my first guitar. Like all else about Muddy Waters, it is simple yet exquisite.

I don’t usually sit down and learn Muddy’s licks, however I do feel great appreciation for the man. Gratitude even, for being the face on the force that opened doors for the Blues. For being lovable enough, charming enough, unique and charismatic to crossover internationally. Muddy Waters contributed a largest portion to create Urban Blues, regardless of who did what amount of work. Many of those whom I admire greatly, felt the same way about him. “The Rolling Stones”, guess where the name came from…