Muddy Waters: The Real Folk Blues (LP, 180g Vinyl)
(DOL) 12 tracks - Reproduction of the original 1966 'Chess' Best Of ... LP album - Gatefold cover
The real Folk Blues can only be understood properly by knowing what Folk Blues really is. To be a folk song, it must be handed down from one to another. Most of the time, each performer will deliver these songs in his own way. They will add or take away or rearrange these songs to suit their feelings. But the blues is a heritage of my people. That is the only traditional music the American people have, and the rest of the American music all came from the blues. Years ago, these blues may have been sung to a banjo, or a guitar, or a harmonica, but the blues, like the people of this country, changes to suit the changing ways of the world, and I say no one is more able or capable of putting these blues to the test around the world than Muddy Waters.
As you know, I have traveled with the blues all over the world and I feel that Muddy Waters, like myself, can't help but have the real blues because he inherited the blues from many generations of povertystricken people. The ability to deliver the blues with this depth of feeling can't be learned from books or schools. You may learn to imitate, but without this feeling, you cannot duplicate the blues. You can find people who can play rings around these blues artists with their guitars and other instruments, and can sing clearer and have better voices, but they can't duplicate that real, inherited soul, heard in 'Screaming And Crying' or 'Just To Be With You' or '40 Days and 40 Nights'. The soul of a man is the blues and Muddy Waters sings these songs with soul. As you listen to Muddy Waters, you will hear traces of the oldest forms in the blues field, and you can also hear traces of the changes that have taken place as these blues passed through time. And even when you hear what is called 'modern city blues', as the blues are today, you will notice that the blues vary, but still keep their own feeling.
Muddy Waters, in 'Same Thing', emphasizes the fact that the world seems to fight about the same things. Muddy Waters is looking deep into the facts of life. As all men know, a lot of times we wonder about and think many things that we dare not say, especially about girls, but in this song, the problem seems to be solved with 'The Same Thing'. There are so many things expressed in real Folk Blues that if the story doesn't reach you, it will reach others of various experiences, whether they are Folks or People. To sum it all up, listen for yourself and you will understand'The Real Folk Blues'
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Although Chess claimed that Muddy Waters was responsible for penning the rousing Got My Mojo Working on this single, it emanated from outside the confines of Arc Music, Chess’ publishing arm.
"We went on tour with a lady named Ann Cole. She's the one that originally did 'Mojo,’" says his then-road harpist, James Cotton. "Muddy said, 'That's my kind of stuff there, talkin' about the mojo and all that kind of thing. I need to learn that song so I can do it.' He said, 'Learn the words to it for me.' So I learned the words, and I learned to play it. I taught him the words when I knew everything. They recorded it, him and Walter. It did pretty good.
When Muddy got back to Chicago, he made the song his own on either December 1, 1956 or January 16, 1957. As Cotton noted, Little Walter was still his main harp man in the studio; other participants were his essential 88s ace Otis Spann, guitarist Jimmy Rogers, bassist Willie Dixon, and new drummer Francis Clay. But this rendition wouldn’t be the one everyone so widely copied; that version was done live at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival with James on harp (Chess issued Waters’ set on LP). "I put the arrangement on there," says Cotton. "Now it's a classic."
In between the two Mojos, Waters made his maiden voyage to England in 1958, bringing along his electric guitar. British fans accustomed to Big Bill Broonzy’s acoustic blues weren’t quite ready for the aural assault. "I went over there, and they went stone nuts. ‘Where’s he comin’ from with all this noise?’" said Muddy, who tried to comply on his next visit. "I go back a couple of years later and didn’t bring it, and then they’re cryin’, ‘Where’s your electric guitar?’"
Always loyal to Chess, the ‘60s weren’t overly kind to Muddy from a recording standpoint. The nadir was his pseudo-psychedelic 1968 travesty ‘Electric Mud.’ Muddy freely ripped the album later on. "I really went with the company with that part," he said. "I hope they never play it." During the mid-‘70s, Waters underwent a studio renaissance on a new label, Blue Sky. Producer Johnny Winter strove to restore Muddy’s original sound on his acclaimed 1977 LP ‘Hard Again.’ "He was one of the young white kids who was really deep into it," said Muddy.
The King of Chicago Blues died of cancer April 30, 1983 at age 70. It’s a sure bet no one will ever take his place. "Maybe somebody else would have come up and went another way," Waters mused. "I came up at the right time and the right season, and I should say, I just taken it over. I just taken Chicago completely over!"