It’s a gloomy day, which makes it perfect for the blues.
The sun was out a while ago, which makes it perfect for the blues.
Feeling up or down, that makes it perfect for the blues.
The blues is a feeling… it is a genre… it is a musical style that made its way from the deep south to the streets of Chicago and then all over the world. Along the way it got hit by lightning and became electrified. And then “the blues had a baby and they called it Rock n’ Roll.”
All you need to tell the story is 12 bars… and there are many, many stories to be told…
For me it started with The Blues Brothers… Sorry, but it’s true. That’s what happens when you’re a white kid in NJ and you hear a lot of classic rock on the radio and limit yourself a bit… and you don’t know the real place the music came from. But I’ll tell you, hearing John and Dan got me wanting to explore more… and I did. I cannot recall the New York radio station, but I remember staying awake late on Sunday nights listening to the blues.
Going to school in Chicago cemented the deal… so many amazing clubs and places to listen… but learning to play the blues harp is what gave me a life-long love affair.
Muddy Waters – Hard Again
This was actually the first blues CD I owned… I had Jake and Elwood on something else, I think. I played this incessantly throughout college and I became obsessed. McKinley Morganfield was born on April 4, 1913 and died on April 30, 1983, which means I came to Chicago about a year and a half after and would never get to see this legend perform live… Sad.
Somewhere I still have a shirt of the Chicago Blues Festival from that year, as it was a Muddy Waters tribute…
He is “considered the “father of modern Chicago blues”. He was a major inspiration for the British blues explosion in the 1960s, and was ranked No. 17 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”
“A Mississippi Blues Trail marker has been placed in Clarksdale, Mississippi, by the Mississippi Blues Commission designating the site of Muddy Waters’ cabin to commemorate his importance.”
Yeah, he was that good and that influential. And yeah, I need to get myself down on that trail!
This one came out in 1977 and is considered his comeback record.
“Three of the songs on the album – “Mannish Boy”, “I Want to Be Loved”, and “I Can’t Be Satisfied” – were re-recordings of songs that were previously recorded for Chess Records. One of the songs recorded, “The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock and Roll, Pt. 2”, was co-written by Brownie McGhee and another song, “Bus Driver”, was co-written by T. Abrahamson.”
There was a great counselor named Fred who worked with me at Camp Ramaquois. He was friends with Brownie and would always tell me some amazing stories. We have lost so many of those legends… Sad… So sad.
“The sessions for Hard Again were recorded across the space of three days. Producing the session was Johnny Winter and engineering the sessions was Dave Still – who previously engineered Johnny’s brother Edgar, Foghat, and Alan Merrill. For the recordings Muddy used his then current touring band of guitarist Bob Margolin, pianist Pinetop Perkins, and drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Other backing members during the sessions were harmonicist James Cotton, who performed with Muddy at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960, and bassist Charles Calmeses, who performed with both Johnny Winter and James Cotton in the past.“
James Cotton is one of my heroes… I used to see him all the time in Chi Town.
This whole album brings back amazing memories… and it just moves me and makes me move. That is what the blues are all about… They make you move forward, move side to side… slide up next to your woman and move her, too. You’ll go home and make love all night long and in the morning she;ll be gone. No worries… There is a song about that, too!