Thursday, 29 November 2007

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters, born McKinley Morganfield on April 1913 was an American blues musician known as "the Father of Chicago blues". He is known as one of the great blues musicians of all time and apparently a big influence to Britain's music "boom" in the early 60's.

Waters was born in Issaquena County, Mississippi in 1913. He was brought up by his grandmother at an early age when his mother died in 1915. Waters started out playing music on the harmonica but quickly move onto the guitar where he started playing at parties emulating his favourite Blues artists.

In Muddy Waters early career he began recording in the Summer of 1941 Alan Lomax came to Stovall, Mississippi, on behalf of the Library of Congress to record various country blues musicians. He recorded two sessions which were eventually released on the Testament record label.

In 1943 Muddy moved to Chicago to become a "professional" musician. He played clubs as the support act for Chicago blues maestro Big Bill Broonzy. In 1945 Muddy Waters received his first Electric Guitar from his uncle which apparently paid off as he could finally be heard over the loud crowds. In the next year or so Muddy recorded for a couple of record labels which weren't released at the time. However one of his songs became very popular and continuously played which lead to his popularity in clubs to reach a new heights.

By 1952 Muddy Waters was playing with what he considered to be his best band yet. This band involved such musicians as Little Walter Jacobs and Otis Spann on Harmonica and Piano. This time period Muddy released some Blues classics like "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "I want to make love to you". These two songs charted respectively at Number 8 and Number 4 in the R&B charts. One hit he had was responsible for giving one if the greatest rock bands their name. The song was titled "Rolling Stone" which was a smash hit. With the next few years he continued to have mass success in the charts and also had a famous rival with another Blues God, Howlin' Wolf.

By 1960 he had moved to England and recorded his first live LP titled "At Newport 1960", this album broke him into a whole new generation of music lovers to Waters' sound. The next few years Muddy Waters returned to America and recorded more music. He then returned to England to play with Rory Gallagher and other great musicians.

In 1977 fellow Blues guitarist Johnny Winters convinced his record label to sign Waters. Muddy Waters released his "comeback" album "Hard Again" soon after. The album was recorded in two days, was awarded a Grammy and was a return to the routes of his Chicago blues that he was well known for 25 years previous.

Muddy Waters' comeback continued with a release of his live LP Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live which carried his popularity for the next few years. Unfortunately Muddy died of Cancer in his sleep in 1983. He was 70 years old.

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