- 30" x 30"
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Muddy Waters said: “That Mississippi sound, that Delta sound is in them old records. You can hear it all the way through.”
According to Rolling Stones Hall of Fame, Muddy Waters “electrified the blues”—literally and figuratively. In fact, you could say his guitar launched a thousand bands. For, Muddy Waters’ playing was revelatory, his singing unrivaled. He inspired such icons as the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and rock’n roll legacy.
Even, his recorded legacy, particularly the records cut in the Fifties, is one of the great musical treasures of this century. Aside from Robert Johnson, no single figure is more important in the history and development of the blues than Waters. Above all others, it was Waters who linked the country blues of his native Mississippi Delta with the urban blues that were born in Chicago.
Muddy Waters History
Muddy Waters was born McKinley Morganfield in Rolling Fork, Mississippi in 1915. At the age of three, he was sent to live with his grandmother, on the Stovall Plantation north of Clarksdale, after his mother died. There he acquired the nickname “Muddy” for his penchant for playing in nearby creeks and puddles.
While growing up in the cotton country of the Mississippi Delta, he taught himself to play harmonica as a child and took up guitar at age 17. Additionally, he eagerly absorbed the classic Delta blues styles of Robert Johnson, Son House, and others while developing a style of his own. As a young man, he drove a tractor on the sharecropped plantation, and on weekends he operated the cabin in which he lived as a “juke house,” where visitors could party and imbibe moonshine whiskey made by Waters.
Moreover, he performed both on his own and in a band, occasionally earning a little money playing at house parties. In fact, he was first recorded in 1941, for the U.S. Library of Congress by archivist Alan Lomax, who had come to Mississippi in search of Johnson (who had already died by that time). Waters, who remained active till the end, died of a heart attack in 1983. He was 68 years old. In the years since his death, the one-room cedar shack in which he lived on the Stovall Plantation has been preserved as a memorial to Waters’ humble origins.
This painting is titled “Muddy Waters” for its colors and shapes remind me of the muddy waters I played in as a child probably much like the ones the famous Muddy Waters had a penchant for. As a southerner and a blues fan, I am always eager to learn the history of the blues, particularly the great Waters who transformed the soul of the rural South into the sound of the city, and hence electrifying the blues. And now, you too know a little bit about Muddy Waters.
“There’s no way in the world I can feel the same blues the way I used to. When I play in Chicago, I’m playing up-to-date, not the blues I was born with. People should hear the pure blues – the blues we used to have when we had no money.”– Muddy Waters
Dare to Feel,
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