Today McKinley Morganfield, better known as Muddy Waters, would have turned 100 years old. Whenever anyone asks me to rank my 'top 5 musical influences,' Muddy Waters ALWAYS makes that list. I know I'm not being original. I mean, the man has influenced so many legendary artists: The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Cream/Eric Clapton, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughn...the list goes on and on and on. Although all these artists can be considered legendary, Muddy Waters is a LEGEND. He is an once-in-a-lifetime entity, an original. Well before the 60s electric blues movement occurred (as well as before Dylan went 'electric'), Muddy Waters was a pioneer of plugging in and lettin' 'er rip! His voice commanded one to take notes and pay attention. His guitar ached, screamed, hummed the Blues. When Muddy played, you weren't an audience member, a voyeur, of the process; - you lived the music with him. He is a lifestyle and an attitude onto himself. His songs, music, feel of the Blues are unmatched anywhere in the scope of auditory history.
When I first started to learn guitar, this was the man I turned to. Two records in particular were in constant rotation: Muddy 'Mississippi' Waters - Live and a European release of material from the late 50s/early 60s that I had found in Greece (I can't recall the title). I would play along to these records before I went to bed - almost nightly - for a solid year. One song in particular, 'Streamline Woman,' always struck me as the quintessential Muddy Waters track. Off the Live album, this song has it all: the right lyrics, the perfect feel, on-point blues guitar. It is the first song I ever learned how to play, and it's still a song I routinely perform live.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a live performance (visually) of 'Streamline Woman.' I did stumble upon this:
Happy Birthday, MUDDY!!! - love gypsy.