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.