Muddy Waters: The Blues Had a Baby and They Named it Rock and Roll


The Blues Had a Baby and They Named it Rock and Roll


Muddy Waters (vocals)


Hard Again (Sony Epic/Legacy 86817)

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Muddy Waters (vocals), Johnny Winter (guitar), James Cotton (harmonica),

Pinetop Perkins (piano), Bob Margolin (guitar), Charles Calmese (bass), Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (drums)


Composed by McKinley Morganfield & Brownie McGhee


Recorded: New York, 1976


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Good times don't last. The hits and the innovation faded away even as Muddy Waters's status as the honored senior of Chicago Blues rumbled on. Leonard Chess died, and later producers tried useless gimmicks; yet even though there were honorable moments, even whole albums, finally Muddy left Chess behind, signing with Johnny Winters's Blue Sky, a sub-label of Columbia. The guitar-mad albino produced a total of four LPs revitalizing Muddy's career; but the first, Hard Again, was the one that mattered. And this less-known track is still the most fun, if not the "hardest" blues: James Cotton blew the cobwebs out, Winter muscled the slide, and Muddy had a good time telling all, "Otis Spann said it, 'You know the Blues got soul' / Queen Victoria said it, 'You know the Blues got soul' / The Blues had a baby, And they named it Rock and Roll." Proof positive, only slightly tongue-in-cheek, of McKinley Morganfield's benign and lasting influence on rock!

Reviewer: Ed Leimbacher

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