Muddy Waters: Can’t Be Satisfied

[caption id="attachment_149449" align="aligncenter" width="564"] Illustration by Courtney Spencer[/caption] This article appears in the May/June 2015 "Blues Issue," now available on newsstands.  “Well the blues had a baby and they named him rock and roll.” So sang Muddy Waters on his 1977 album Hard Again. Produced by the late blues guitar icon Johnny Winter, this album was recorded after authentic blues acts took a back seat to young white bands that played Waters-influenced blues-rock. The Rolling Stones, for instance – who always tipped their hats to the master – made more money than Waters probably ever imagined by performing his songs, many written by Willie Dixon, and adding the rock and roll sensibilities of his Chess Records stablemate, Chuck Berry.  McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield, who had played the blues for years in the Mississippi Delta, was tracked down and recorded in the early 1940s by musicologist and folklorist Alan Lomax. The experience inspired Waters to head north to Chicago to find opportunity in the blues world. The blues wasn’t exactly a new thing in Chicago. But Waters took it to a whole new level with a bigass dose of testosterone, a cranked-up electric guitar (eventually a Telecaster when Fender started producing…

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