John lee hooker said he wanted to play mean guitar. He did. Muddy waters was never part of that school. Oh, he didn’t play soft guitar, he didn’t play 'nice' guitar. Oh no, it was dirty, it was strong and it was proud, but it was never mean. Never.
And he had his own sound. A very special simple sound. Just play the normal blues, but on an electric guitar, with a slide. His favorite tool to get us into a real blues mood, not a whiney one, a sad contemplative kind of blues, the ones that doesn’t play with the scabs of your life like so many other singers, but takes you for a ride for an exodus on a bottle's neck, to better places, to better times, a sound that doesn’t bring you down, but takes you up.
And he could slide them blues away like there was no tomorrow.
I stone got crazy when I saw somebody run down them strings with a bottleneck. My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree and I said that I had to learn."
and put in some extra overtones and squeaks that compliment a beautiful deep melodic plantation folk singer voice. Now add all the heart you can find from Mississippi to Chicago, dressed it up in a suit, and you got muddy waters sound. Simple.
Man, you don't know how I felt that afternoon when I heard that voice and it was my own voice."
Muddy water is one of the last proud ones. He went on stage dressed nice, like a serious person, because that was the right thing to do. Because that was how you do things in Chicago.
And he was all Chicago, muddy. Fuck pizza pie. Chicago is muddy waters, and he IS the hoochie coochie man. So there.
Bring me champagne when I am thirsty, bring me a reefer when I want to get high…. Well you know there should be no law, when people want to smoke a little dope, well you know it's good for your health, and it relax your body don’t you know."
Not your typical blues song I know, but hey, I am not going to argue with someone like muddy waters. How can you? He is such a father figure, with his suits and those good eyes that always look more worried than sad, more concerned than mad. And besides, who would want to argue with him about that quote?
I rambled all the time. I was just like that, like a rollin' stone."
Muddy waters was the one who brought the blues, well, the muddy waters Chicago electric blues to England, in the legendary Newport festival, and the reaction was… well you can guess what happened when a bunch of creative British hippies got to hear that amplified sound and soft loud clear strong singing style. Muddy came, he conquered, they listened, they played, and the rest is history.
Muddy, thank you for Eric Clapton, for cream, for led zeppelin, for the rolling stones, for so many others, so many great musicians that got the muddy bug down the road and were never the same.
Even Hendrix, the guitar god himself was quoted in an interview, when asked about his guitar roots and influences - "the first guitar player I was aware of was Muddy Waters. I first heard him as a little boy and it scared me to death".
Finishing with a quote like this From Hendrix? There is nothing I could write more. Nothing I could add. Like one of Hendrix's guitars after a show, I have to soak the keyboard in lighter fluid and set it on fire.
Muddy waters. The hoochie choochie man, with the mojo, with a reefer, can be finally satisfied in the big blue sea.