Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters Blues as an art form gave Blacks a medium to manifest their
feelings. Feelings ranging from humorous to silly to depressed. Fortunately for
a entire genre of music, the only way for Mckinley Morganfield to express
himself was through song. Morganfield better known as Muddy Waters became a
legendary blues vocalist /guitarist. When the Blues industry saw commercial
success many of its artists also saw rising fame. Muddy Waters enjoyed success
in the industry up until and even after his death in 1983. Morganfield was born

April 4, 1915 to Ollie Morganfield and Bertha Jones. He was born in Rollingfork,

Mississippi. Near their two room shack in Rollingfork there was a creek, Deer

Creek. As a youngster he used to play in the creek and get all dirty and muddy.

It was at this point when his sisters gave him the nickname ‘Muddy Waters’.

Bertha died when he was about three. After her death he had to move in with his
grandmother in Clarksdale. Raised in Clarksdale, he also went to school there.

He went to school until he was old enough to work in the fields. Much like all
of the other field laborers Muddy Waters hollered in the fields to pass time or
just to get things off of your chest. Waters would also teach himself to play
instruments. When he was fifteen he knew how to play the harmonica and he would
later teach himself the guitar. The young Waters followed in his fathers
musician footsteps. He was part of a band at fifteen, with Scott Bowhandle on
guitar and Sonny Simms playing the violin. They would play some Saturday nights
in downtown Clarksdale and others he would sell fried fish on nights. And other
nights he would watch the greats like Son House, Robert Johnson and Charlie

Patton were great musical influences on Waters. The main influence on Waters was

Son House, although Waters style of play was more similar to that of Robert

Johnson. Muddy Waters was first recognized by word of mouth. Alan Lomax of The

Library of Congress went to Clarksdale to record Robert Johnson. But to his
dismay, he found out that Robert Johnson was dead and had been for two years.

The word on the street at that time led Lomax to Muddy Waters. Waters would
record two songs with them in 1941, far before he became famous. His name would
not reach household status until 1947 when he recorded his first hit single,

"I can’t be satisfied." Muddy Waters style of blues was considered rough
and uncompromising. It was different from all of the other too ‘polished’
for the South musicians. Waters didn’t have a sing-song voice, but a deep
raspy voice. Success was steadily increasing especially since the addition of
band members. The band complimented his sound. Jimmy Rogers was on the guitar,
and harmonica specialist Little Walter. The band provided superb sounds while
the ‘grand ole man’ played his guitar and sang. Although I listened to more
than two selections there were two that stood out in my mind; ‘The Hoochie

Coochie Man’ and ‘Corine Corina’. Waters proclaims his arrival and his
presence as the hoochie coochie man. He wants to let the world know that he is
here. Over a consistent baseline, he begins each verse with a whisper and
concluding each verse with a shout almost. Adding to the effect that says his
coming and know he is here. The next song ‘Corine Corina is fast paced and
upbeat. In an almost pleading voice he asks Corina why she does not love him. He
leaves Corina by the end of the song. This record has a blend of saxophones, a
base and a bridge with a harmonica. Neither of these songs carry the typical
thoughts of what a Blues song should like. "The most astonishing aspect of the
blues is that, through replete with a sense of defeat and downheartedness, they
are not intrinsically pessimistic; their burden of woe and melancholy is
dialectically redeemed through sheer force of sensuality into an almost exultant
affirmation of life, of love, of sex, of movement, of hope. No matter how
repressive was the American environment, the Negro never lost faith in of
doubted his deeply endemic capacity to live. All blues are a lusty, lyrical
realism charged with taut sensibility. I’ll never understand why most people
define the blues as an expression of sadness only." -Richard Wright,
definition of blues Muddy Waters is a legend. Not only is he a legendary Blues
vocalist /guitarist, but he is a musical legend. Inspiring artists