Muddy Waters

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McKinley Morganfield
Background information
Birth name McKinley Morganfield
Also known as Muddy Waters
Born April 4, 1915(1915-04-04)
Issaquena County, Mississippi
Origin Chicago, Illinois
Died April 30, 1983(1983-04-30) (aged 68)
Westmont, Illinois
Genres Chicago blues
Delta blues
Electric blues
Blues revival
Occupations Singer
guitarist
bandleader
Songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1941 – 1983
Labels Testament
Chess
Aristocrat
Website MuddyWaters.com
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul
Fender Telecaster

McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913April 30, 1983), or Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician and is considered "the Father of Chicago blues". He is also the actual father of blues musician Big Bill Morganfield. Muddy Waters is considered to be one of the greatest bluesmen of all time, and in 2004 he was ranked #17 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Life[change | edit source]

Muddy Waters was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. He liked playing in a creek near his home so his sister gave him the nickname "Muddy Waters". His mother died and he grew up at his grandmothers home in Clarksdale. He learned to play the harp and played together with other musicans in juke joints and for parties. While he was working as tractor driver at the Stovall plantation he was recorded by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress. Two songs (Country Blues/I Be's Troubled) were put on a record for documentary reasons. The first release of these recordings was 1993 by MCA Records. (The Complete Plantation Recordings)

1943 Waters went, like a lot of other musicans from the Mississippi delta, north to Chicago. He worked in a papermill and played and got a reputation as musican. To be louder than the visitors of the crowded clubs he changed the acoustic guitar for an electric guitar. Until 1948 he recorded for some minor labels amongst others with Sunnyland Slim, a pianist. Sunnyland Slim took him along as he recorded for Aristocrat Records. There he had the chance to record two sides(Gypsy Woman/Little Annie Mae). They were not successful but he had the chance to record again. He recorded I Can't Be Satisfied and I Feel Like Going Home, which were successful in the Chicago area. With his own band he recorded now and had success. Hits from the beginning of the 1950s were Louisiana Blues (1951), Long Distance Call (1951), Still A Fool (1951) and She Moves Me (1952).

The 1950s were commercially and artistic successfully. He became the "King of the Chicago Blues". A lot of musicians who played in his band later were stars of the blues scene themself. (Otis Spann, Little Walter, Junior Wells, Big Walter Horton, James Cotton...). Willie Dixon, who played the bass and produced for Chess Records, wrote a lot of his hits from this time.(I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man (1954), Just Make Love To Me (1954), Mannish Boy (1955), Trouble No More (1956) ) Muddy Waters played even outside the USA. 1958 he played some concerts in Great Britain with Chris Barber. 1960 he played at the Newport Jazz Festival, the first time it was possible for a white audience to hear him.

As a recording artist the 1960s were not good. But the white audience even in Europe discovered him. A band from London was named after one of his songs. (The Rolling Stones). His importance for young musicans was documented in the album "Fathers and Sons" where Muddy Waters, the father, played together with his sons Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield andDonald „Duck“ Dunn, all of them white. In the 1970s he tightend his reputation as live act. He played great festivals like the Montreux Jazz Festival. But also his albums were acclaimed, so the album "Hard again" .This album was produced by the guitarist Johnny Winter.

On April 30, 1983 Muddy Waters died in his sleep from Heart Failure, at his home in Westmont, Illinois.

Influence[change | edit source]

Unlike T-Bone Walker, who also used a electric guitar, Waters used riffs consisting of only few accords. This was model for later guitarist. A lot of his songs was covered by other great musicians. The music was used in movies (especially in longtime fan Martin Scorsese's movies, including The Color of Money, Casino and Goodfellas). Even commercials used them.

Selected discography[change | edit source]

Selected albums[change | edit source]

Muddy Waters released about thirty albums during his career, including compilation albums. [1] The following lists most of the albums released during his career and the more recent and available compilations released after his death.

Year Title Label
1958 The Best of Muddy Waters Chess
1960 Muddy Waters sings Big Bill Broonzy Chess
At Newport 1960 Chess
1964 Folk Singer Chess
1966 The Real Folk Blues Chess
Down on Stovall's Plantation: His First Recordings Testament
1967 More Real Folk Blues Chess
1968 Electric Mud Cadet Concept
1969 After the Rain Cadet Concept
Fathers and Sons Chess
Sail On Chess
1971 They Call Me Muddy Waters Chess
Live (at Mr. Kelley's) Chess
1972 The London Muddy Waters Sessions Chess
1973 Can't Get No Grindin' Chess
"Unk" in Funk Chess
1975 The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album Chess
1977 Hard Again Blue Sky
1978 I'm Ready Blue Sky
1979 Muddy "Mississippi" Waters - Live Blue Sky
1981 King Bee Blue Sky
1989 The Chess Box MCA/Chess
1993 The Complete Plantation Recordings MCA/Chess
1994 One More Mile MCA/Chess
2000 Rollin' Stone: The Golden Anniversary Collection (Chess Masters 1947–1952) MCA/Chess
The Lost Tapes Blind Pig
2001 Muddy Waters 1941–1946 Document
The Anthology (1947–1972) MCA/Chess
2004 Hoochie Coochie Man: Complete Chess Masters, Vol. 2: 1952–1958 Hip-O Select/Chess
2006 The Definitive Collection Geffen/Chess
2007 Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down (Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, & James Cotton) Epic/Legacy
2009 Authorized Bootleg: Live at the Fillmore Auditorium November 4–6, 1966 Geffen/Chess

Selected singles[change | edit source]

Muddy Waters released approximately sixty singles (120 "sides") during his career, sixteen of which made the charts. The chart position is the highest in the Billboard Rhythm and Blues charts.[2]

Year Title Chart no.
1941 "Country Blues" [3]
"I Be's Troubled"
1948 "(I Feel Like) Going Home" 11
"I Can't Be Satisfied"
1950 "Rollin' and Tumblin'"
"Rollin' Stone"
"Walkin' Blues"
"Louisiana Blues" 10
1951 "Long Distance Call" 8
"Honey Bee" 10
"Still a Fool" 9
1952 "She Moves Me" 10
"Standing Around Crying"
1953 "Turn the Lamp Down Low (Baby Please Don't Go)"
"Blow Wind Blow"
"Mad Love (I Want You to Love Me)" 6
1954 "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man" 3
"Just Make Love to Me (I Just Want to Make Love to You)" 4
"I'm Ready" 4
1955 "I Want to Be Loved"
"Manish Boy" aka "Mannish Boy" 5
"Sugar Sweet" 11
1956 "Trouble No More" 7
"Forty Days and Forty Nights" 7
"Don't Go No Farther" 9
"Just to Be with You"
"Rock Me"
"Got My Mojo Working"
1957 "I Live the Life I Love (I Love the Life I Live)"
1958 "She's Nineteen Years Old"
"Close to You" 9
1959 "I Feel So Good"
1962 "You Shook Me"
"You Need Love"
1964 "The Same Thing"
"You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had"

Members of Muddy Waters Band/Musicans during recordings[change | edit source]

Guitar

Piano

Harmonica

Bass

Drums

Awards and recognitions[change | edit source]

Grammy Awards[change | edit source]

Muddy Waters Grammy Award History[4]
Year Category Title Genre Label Result
1971 Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording They Call Me Muddy Waters folk MCA/Chess winner
1972 Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording The London Muddy Waters Session folk MCA/Chess winner
1975 Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album folk MCA/Chess winner
1977 Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording Hard Again folk Blue Sky winner
1978 Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording I'm Ready folk Blue Sky winner
1979 Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live folk Blue Sky winner

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame[change | edit source]

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame listed four songs of Muddy Waters of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.[5]

Year Recorded Title
1950 Rollin' Stone
1954 Hoochie Coochie Man
1955 Mannish Boy
1957 Got My Mojo Working

The Blues Foundation Awards[change | edit source]

Muddy Waters: Blues Music Awards[6]
Year Category Title Result
1994 Reissue Album of the Year The Complete Plantation Recordings Winner
1995 Reissue Album of the Year One More Mile Winner
2000 Traditional Blues Album of the Year The Lost Tapes of Muddy Waters Winner
2002 Historical Blues Album of the Year Fathers and Sons Winner
2006 Historical Album of the Year Hoochie Coochie Man: Complete Chess Recordings, Volume 2, 1952–1958 Winner

Inductions[change | edit source]

Year Inducted Title
1980 Blues Foundation Hall of Fame
1987 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
1992 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

U.S. Postage Stamp

Year Stamp USA Note
1994 29 cents Commemorative stamp U.S. Postal Service Photo[7]

Other websites[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]

  1. "Muddy Waters Discography: Compilations". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p108085/discography/compilations. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
  2. Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Record Research, Inc. p. 435. ISBN 0898200687.
  3. "—" denotes single did not chart
  4. "Grammy Awards search engine". Grammy.com. 2009-02-08. http://www.grammy.com/GRAMMY_Awards/Winners/Results.aspx. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  5. "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". Rockhall.com. 17 July 2008. http://www.rockhall.com/exhibithighlights/500-songs-wz/. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  6. "The Blues Foundation Database". Blues.org. http://www.blues.org/search/handys.php. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  7. "29 cents Commemorative stamp". Muddy Waters. http://www.muddywaters.com/prod11.html. Retrieved 2009-07-18.