52 Weeks of Music

Muddy Waters – Hard Again

Posted in Uncategorized by Mark on January 19, 2009

In the late 50’s & early 60’s Muddy travelled to England. During this time his music reached new, white audiences for the first time, but he was at the start of a quiet period in career.

During the 1960s a new breed of artist, who owed much to Muddy, began rising to prominence – acts like Hendrix, Led Zepplin, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jeff Beck and Brian May.  However the black audience began turning away from blues music. Perhaps as a symptom of this Chess, the label Muddy had recorded with since the early days, also began to turn their attention elsewhere. Muddy continued recording and performing, but without the success he had experienced in Chicago.

In 1976 Muddy performed at the legendary “Last Waltz” farewell concert for “The Band“, sharing the stage with the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and Ringo Starr. This concert proved to be another turning point for Muddy as it signified his return to form and elevation to new heights of popularity.

In 1977 Muddy switched record labels and teamed up with Johnny Winter to kick off the second phase of Muddy’s career. This week’s album, aptly titled Hard Again, was the first recording in a collaboration that was to last the rest of Muddy’s life. Together they recorded three more albums over the next 4 years before Muddy’s health began to deteriorate.

Muddy played his last concert in 1982, filling in in Eric Clapton’s band at a gig in Florida. In 1983 Muddy died of a heart attack, at home in bed.


Aside from Robert Johnson, no single figure is more important in the history and development of the blues than Waters.

In 1987 Muddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The above quote is taken from his entry.

Allmusic Review

Great blues from one of the dominant voices of the genre.
allmusic ★★★★★

Sample: http://blip.fm/profile/markstanton/blip/7095994


Muddy Waters – His best 1947 to 1955

Posted in Uncategorized by Mark on January 13, 2009

I did a Google search the other day for “52 weeks of music” and guess what…. it’s not an original idea. Result #1 Flickr: 52 Weeks Of Music & Blythe :

Every week – take a song that you like, and then using your Blythe dolls, take a picture to capture the lyric, title or message of the song.


Next up is Kahit Na Ano, a blog which periodically features posts containing a photo that relates to a song along with the song title & song lyrics. Interesting idea but again not quite what’s going on here.

Then there’s 52 weeks which is about “Reviewing a South African band every week for 52 weeks”.

Ok, so maybe we’re not just rehashing an old idea.

While I’m rambling… I thought I’d start making a list of artists that I want to cover in next 12 months and I very quickly got to 37. And I’m not counting the 4 posts I’ve either published or started on already. And those are just the artists I really, really need to mention. And there are several that I think I’m going to have to do more than one post for.

Oh well, better get a move on.

One last thing before we get to Mr Muddy ‘Mississippi’ Waters – from here on in best-of albums will be considered cheating. Except for today.


Unlike Son House and Robert Johnson the inclusion of Muddy Waters here goes beyond historical significance. Muddy Waters is my quintessential blues-man. I love his music and whenever I think of blues it’s his foot stomping rhythms and warm, smiling voice that come to mind.

Muddy was born McKinley Morganfield in Mississippi (like House and Johnson) on April 4 1913. He earned the nickname Muddy because he loved playing in mud when he was young.

As a young man learning the blues Muddy was aware of and imitated both House and Johnson.

At age 18 Muddy opened a juke joint featuring moonshine, gambling, a juke box and Muddy himself occasinoally singing and playing guitar. In 1941 Alan Lomax recorded Muddy in his juke joint. Listening to himself on record for the first time was a key moment for Muddy, as he realised he could make it as musician.

In 1943 Muddy took a train to Chicago to try his luck as professional performer. He worked menial jobs by day and played clubs and parties at night.

Muddy’s first successful recording came in 1948 with “I Can’t Be Satisfied” & “I Feel Like Going Home”. Shortly after Muddy sealed his status as a star when “Rollin’ Stone” became a big hit. This song was to have a huge impact over the years being the inspiration for the name The Rolling Stones, for Dylan’s classic “Like a Rolling Stone” and for Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile”.

This week’s album, His Best: 1947 to 1955, starts off with these early recordings and progresses chronologically through to the mid 1950’s with classics like “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Mannish Boy”. It provides a picture of this first period of Muddy’s career in which he continued to make a name for himself playing and recording in Chicago, and periodically returning to the deep south.


Allmusic Review

allmusic ★★★★★

Sample: http://blip.fm/profile/markstanton/blip/7095106