Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mud Morganfield Is The Son of the Seventh Son

The eldest son of the legendary Muddy Waters, Mud Morganfield was originally given a drum set by his father when he was 7, and began singing in the early 1980s, but it was not until 2005 when Mary lane coaxed him on stage that he started treated music as his profession in a serious fashion. Appearing at the 2007 Chicago Blues Festival led to interest in him similar top that of his younger brother Big Bill Morganfield. He has had some earlier recordings, but now he has a new recording, Son of the Seventh Son, produced by Bob Corritore on Severn Records that should help take his recognition and career to the next level.

Backing Morganfield’s vocals are guitarists Rick Kreher and Billy Flynn, pianist Barrelhouse Chuck (Goering); bassist E.G. McDaniel with Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith on drums. Producer Corritore and Harmonica Hinds share the harmonica duties for these February 2011 recordings. With the exception of a couple covers of Muddy Waters recordings and originals by Studebaker John Grimaldi and Billy Flynn, Mud Morganfield contributed originals and the performances are pretty much in his father’s style.

From the opening notes of the reworking of J.T. Brown’s Short Dress Woman, to his own Blues In My Shoes, celebrating his father’s legacy, Mud Morganfield evokes his legendary father. The performances are solid blues in the style of his father and the backing band does a solid job or evoking the Muddy Waters Band sound of the mid-sixties through the end of Waters’ celebrated career. This is a solid band that sounds so at home playing in the style of Waters.

Mud may not quite match his father’s style, but he comes close. The level of the performances are solid throughout although several stand out including the opening reworking of his father’s recording of Short Dress Woman, Studebaker John’s Son of the Seventh Son, the amusing Catfishing, (where he goes all the way to the bottom because that’s where all the fat cats go) on which Barrelhouse Chuck is on organ and Harmonica Hinds is on harp, and Health on which Corritore shines in his harp accompaniment as Mud strongly sings about having money and fame don’t mean anything if one does not have good health. The playing is strong throughout and certainly captures the flavor of Muddy Waters recordings from the seventies. I am not sure who takes the guitar solo on Loco Motor, but the guitarist does a good job of evoking Jimmy ‘Fast Finger’ Dawkins in his guitar solo.

As suggested, Mud does a strong job of conjuring up his late father’s blues and the backing band certainly contributes to the overall feel of this band. Certainly if there can be “Blues Brothers” tribute bands, the eldest son of one of the greatest blues artists can do his part in keeping his father’s sound alive, especially when he contributes a number of strong originals that he ably performs. While he may not be an original performer, Mud Morganfield certainly is keeping his legendary father’s sound alive, supported by an excellent band. The result is a release sure to interest fans of his father’s classic Chicago blues.

I received my review copy from Severn Records. Here Mud plays his father's Mannish Boy.


Don O. said...

Typo. The younger brother would be Big Bill Morganfield, not Big Bill Broonzy. :)

Ron W said...

Thanks Don O. I should have used my glasses when proofing this but I think I still would have missed it. I have changed Broonzy to Morganfield in the first paragraph.