Muddy Waters: Country Blues
Muddy Waters (guitar, vocals)
The Complete Plantation Recordings (Chess MCA CHD-9344)
Muddy Waters (guitar, vocals).
Composed by McKinley Morganfield.
Recorded: Stovall's Plantation, Mississippi, August 1941
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
One might glibly say that Chicago Blues starts here. There were many Down South musicians recording in the Windy City ahead of Muddy Waters (in the 1930s and early '40s), yet this track – his 1941 debut on disc, cut while still in Mississippi, for Library of Congress field folklorists Alan Lomax and John Work – in retrospect announced the arrival of something new, maybe an insouciant, jaunty, sprung-rhythm approach to the rural blues (here applied to the Son House/Robert Johnson number "Walkin' Blues"). At any rate, Lomax lucked onto the perfect Delta descendent with 26-year-old Morganfield, whose first track transmits House and Johnson precisely (he'd observed or heard both), and the accompanying interview confirms it: Son was his unmatchable mentor, and Robert's aggressive guitar and high vocal tones clearly the better fit.
Reviewer: Ed Leimbacher