music clip of the day


Tag: Muddy Waters

Tuesday, May 21st

only rock ’n’ roll

Rolling Stones (with Katy Perry), “Beast of Burden,” live, Las Vegas, 5/13

Seeing Mick perform these days makes me queasy. When Muddy was nearing seventy, he seemed, onstage, entirely at home in himself. Mick seems like an old guy—he turns seventy in July—who wishes he were still twenty.

Friday, 11/23/12

Chicago: 1974 

“Muddy Waters Blues Summit in Chicago,”* Soundstage, 1974

*Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Pinetop Perkins, Koko Taylor, Mike Bloomfield, Johnny Winter, Dr. John, et al.

Monday, 6/18/12

Happy (Day After) Father’s Day 

Nas (son) with Olu Dara (father), “Bridging the Gap” (2004)
(sampling Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy”)



Here’s more from the old man.

David Murray Octet, “Dewey’s Circle” (DM, tenor saxophone; Olu Dara, trumpet; Butch Morris, cornet; George Lewis, trombone; Henry Threadgill, alto saxophone; Anthony Davis, piano; Wilber Morris, bass; Steve McCall, drums), Ming (Black Saint, 1980)


Muddy Waters, “Mannish Boy” (Chess, 1955)



reading table

People are mysterious, unfathomable—like divinities: natural objects for reverence. But our habits of thought turn the people around us into objects, the means for our self-protection.

—Lama John Makransky, “Family Practice,”
Tricycle, Summer 2001

Monday, 5/7/12

Muddy Waters with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, et al., “Mannish Boy,” live, Chicago (Checkerboard Lounge), 1981

Keith and Ronnie understand something many rockers don’t: the importance, in blues, of restraint. They also understand that when you’re a guest you don’t try to upstage the host. Mick, meanwhile, hasn’t got a clue.

Saturday, 12/24/11

When I was little, I would go into Chicago to hear live music—Peter, Paul & Mary, Kingston Trio, Beach Boys—with my father. Then, as a teenager, I’d go into the city with my brother Don to hear the Velvet Underground and the MC5, the Who, Tim Hardin and Tim Buckley, Muddy Waters. Now I make these trips with my sons. The other night, for instance, my older son Alex (now 24 and home for the holidays) and I went to the Hideout, a small club on Chicago’s north side, not far from where I once went with my father (now gone) and my brother (now hundreds of miles away), to hear this guy.

Jason Adasiewicz’s Rolldown (JA, vibraphone; Josh Berman, cornet; Aram Shelton, alto saxophone; Jason Roebke, bass; Frank Rosaly, drums), “Hide,” live, c. 2008



reading table

No, the human heart
Is unknowable.
But in my birthplace
The flowers still smell
The same as always.

—Ki no Tsurayuki (872-945; trans. Kenneth Rexroth)

Monday, 1/18/10

Chicago Blues Festival, part 1

Muddy Waters (with James Cotton, harmonica; Otis Spann, piano; Pat Hare, guitar; Andrew Stevenson, bass; Francis Clay, drums), “Got My Mojo Working,” live, Newport Jazz Festival, 1960



Soon after he got to Chicago, Muddy [Waters] began playing the blues for his friends in relaxed moments, and that led to work playing at rent parties, for small tips and all the whiskey he could drink. ‘You know,’ he said, refilling his glass with champagne, ‘I wanted to go to Chicago in the late thirties, ’cause Robert Nighthawk came to see me and said he was goin’ and get a record. He says, you go along and you might get on with me. I thought, oh, man, this cat is just jivin’, he ain’t goin’ to Chicago. I thought goin’ to Chicago was like goin’ out of the world. Finally he split, and the next time I heard he had a record out. So I started asking some of my friends that had went to Chicago, Can I make it with my guitar? ‘Naww, they don’t listen to that kind of old blues you’re doin’ now, don’t nobody listen to that, not in Chicago. So when I finally come to Chicago, the same person that told me that . . . Dan’s wife, my sister, that’s the same person I started playin’ every Saturday night for, at the rent party in her apartment. Peoples is awful funny.’ He chuckled, savoring the irony. ‘So I started playing for these rent parties, and then I run into Blue Smitty and Jimmy Rogers and we got somethin’ goin’ on. We started playing little neighborhood bars on the West Side, five nights a week, five dollars a night. It wasn’t no big money, but we’s doin’ it.’ They were doing it, all right; they were creating modern blues and laying the groundwork for rock and roll.—Robert Palmer, Deep Blues (1981)

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