This week blues legend Muddy Waters would celebrate his 104th birthday. Muddy is still a major influence in music history, artist like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and even today rappers like Kanye West are all influenced by his sound. For his birthday we look back at his first recording session.
Stovall Plantation recording session 1941
It was historian Alan Lomax who made a trip to the Stovall Plantation back in August 1941 to record McKinley Morganfield with Henry ‘Son’ Sims. They recorded ‘Country Blues’, ‘I Be Troubled’ and ‘Burr Clover Blues’.
“Morganfield would later become the ‘King of Chicago Blues’ as Muddy Waters. He had learned the guitar and harmonica and began playing in juke joints and at parties and dances in and around the Clarksdale, Mississippi area from about 1935 onwards”.(udiscovermusic)
They show once again that electric blues easily goes hand in hand with the energy of rock and punk music. The five women of Jane Lee Hooker from New York City infuse the grit and attitude of their hometown into the blues.
‘Wade In The Water’ power song!
Wade In The Water, is their powerhouse hit song with a whole lot of attitude. High, gritty and powerful vocals are mixed with heavy bass and bad ass guitar solos. This song is like a destructive 4×4 pick up crossing through wild swamps leaving everything behind. But above all, the four minutes this song last go by in a heartbeat.
Inspiration from Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Johnny Winter
With double lead guitars, a hard-driving rhythm section, and soul-scouring vocals, Jane Lee Hooker honors the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Winter, Big Mama Thornton, and other blues greats. Few bands today deliver the goods with as much raw soul as Jane Lee Hooker.
This radio session is all about the electric blues, with one exception: Big Bill Broonzy’s “Sixteen Tons” an acoustic classic. You will further find various classics of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Otis, Taj Mahall and many more..
West Coast Blues Lowell Fulson
We kick of with “My Aching Back” by Lowell Fulson. This hit was released on 45 RPM in 1966 as the backside of “Change your Ways” and contains a whole lot of rhythm and was featured on his album “Soul”.
Taj Mahal and Otis Rush
In honor of Taj Mahal’s career Sony Music released an collection of studio recordings called The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal. “Chainey Do” appears on this album and is like most of his early recordings a rocking blues tune. Another bluesman in this radio session Otis Rush released his hit “Me” on his 1969 album Mourning In the Morning. This song is very grooving and soulful blues song and contains on hell of a guitar solo listen at: 2:22 minutes.
Sideman: Long Road To Glory Film portrays legendary blues sidemen
On some of the greatest Chicago Blues albums you will find their names on the backside of your record. Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin and Willie “big eyes” Smith were the backbone of the best blues bands around. They made history as sidemen alongside Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf in the 50s, 60s and 70s. and now these legends are featured in documentary film SIDEMEN – Long Road To Glory.
Legendary Sideman of Muddy and Wolf
In the documentary artist like Bonnie Riatt recall that Hubert Sumlin’, Pinetop Perkins and Willie Smith were actually too big to be called sidemen and she is right. All these guys recorded multiple records, received Grammy awards, were inducted into the Rock nd Roll hall of fame and played the blues over more than sixty years. But it is amazing to see that their is a movie dedicated to not the blues bandleaders but the backing bandmembers.
Classic Albums: Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill Broonzy
One of the leading figures in the post war Chicago Blues scene is Muddy Waters. Alongside Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter, Muddy was a big man of the Blues. His music needs no introduction and his influence is still visible today. But this master once showed his respect to another Chicago Bluesman. It was in In 1960, when Muddy Waters recorded an album as a tribute to Big Bill Broonzy ‘Muddy Waters sings Big Bill’.
Big Bill Broonzy died two years earlier, but Muddy could be sure of Broonzy’s approval All Music writes: “Oh yeah, Muddy is a real singer for the Blues,” Big Bill, the Mississippi foundation stone, was heard to say early on in Muddy Waters’ career. The confident Muddy – who was already one of the kings of the blues – changed Big Bill’s repertoire into a Muddy Waters cocktail.
From The Super Super Blues band a classic blues song “Long Distance Call”
In 1968 Chess studios released a unique album it was a collaboration of the greatest blues musician of that time; Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley recorded The Super Super Blues Band. This album is full of rocking blues classics, produced by Willie Dixon under the supervision of Phil and Marshall Chess. The fun part of this albums is that all three legends sings and play on every song together. You will hear Howlin’ Wolf sing Bo Diddley’s song “Diddley Daddy and Muddy sings along on Wolf’s classic “Spoonful“.
Wrecking My love Life
A song you can listen all day is “Wrecking My Love Life”, besides the vocals of Muddy, Wolf and Diddley that really blast out of your speakers like it is a jam that is played in front of you, a magnificent woman sings soulful ‘woohoowoo baby…’ throughout the song. Wrecking My love Life is a blues version of Reggae.
Long Distance Call – Muddy Waters
Long Distance Moan – Blind Lemon Jefferson
Long Distance Call the 3 versions
Long Distance Call was first released in 1951 by Chess and reached #8 in the R&B chart. The song originates in the song “Long distance Moan” released by Texas bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1929. While Muddy changed the name and lyrics of the song slightly, in the music you still hear a lot of moaning. Long Distance Call is a great example of the modern blues, there aren’t a lot of songs that show so good how blue someone can become as Long distance call. This song gets in your veins, bones and soul. Not only because of the lyrics but also through the guitar, the slow drums and the interludes that make this song so magical.
In comparison to the original Muddy Waters version, on the Super Super Blues band Record Long Distance Call is transformed into a rocking blues song. Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Sing and the slow drums are changed into a rhythmic beat. The guitar screams are replaced by harmonica grooves.
Long Distance Call – Super Super Blues Band
Diddley Daddy is another song worth listening on Super Super Blues Band. Diddley Daddy was recorded on May 15, 1955 in Chicago and became a signature song of Bo Diddley. It is cool to hear how Howlin’ Wolf easily takes over the lyrics of Bo. Like the original version, the Super Super blues band version is rockin’ blues. Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters make the song grooving like a jam. Interesting about this song is the 1963 cover by the Rolling Stones which was part of their first demo recording.
The Wanton Bishops made me enthusiastic for over more than two weeks. The power which the Wanton Bishops give away by playing blues, is as rare as the Chicago blues acts we first heard in the fifties and forties from Muddy, Wolf and Walter.
Folkloric Blues rhythms
It is not that raw or dark, it is very tight rocking blues. Like Guns ‘n Roses did with the Hard Rock in the eighties, the Wanton Bishops Do it now with the Blues heritage from Chicago and the Swamps.
“Howl” is a groove song, starting off with the bass drum kick, followed by a killer harmonica tune. “Sleep with the Lights On” from their debut album is also a killer song. With tight folkloric drums, powerful vocals and a heavy guitar riff.
Beirut, Lebanon based blues band
The Wanton Bishops are Nader and Eddy, these two Bluesmen met each other in a bar in Beirut Lebanon. Technically it was outside a bar in the middle of a fist fight. Especially in blues music friendships develop pretty good over liquor, and in this case over cheap tequila. The love for stomp Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll developed between the Wanton Bishops. Nader’s influence reaches from Muddy Waters to the Rolling Stones. Eddy has a love for Classic American rock roots. This all resulted in ‘not another blues band’, but as the Wanton Bishops describe it “They made an unique animal from the other part of the world”.
Sleep With The Lights On
Since the release of their debut album “Sleep With The Lights On” they toured around the world to India, Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and America, performing in diver bars to major festivals.
In early 2014 the Wanton Bishops went to the birthplace of Blues. The deep south of the United States. This trip was filmed by Red Bull media house and is set to be released.
Wanton Bishops om vinyl
I can confirm that the Wanton Bishops’ album looks pretty fine in your vinyl collection between the R.L. Burnside and Elmore James records. These two boys from Lebanon make great blues and I can’t wait to see these folks on stage in my local bar or at a major festival around the world.