Friday, July 27, 2018

Mud Morganfield They Call Me Mud

Mud Morganfield
They Call Me Mud
Severn Records

This is the third Severn release for the late Muddy Waters' son Larry 'Mud ' Morganfield. He is joined by some of Chicago's blues musicians to provide authentic, down-home blues touches. Those heard in addition to guitarist Rich Kreher, Mud's co-producer are: Billy Flynn on guitar, Studebaker John on harmonica and backing vocals, Sumito Ariyo Ariyoshi on piano, E.G. McDaniel on bass and Melvin “Pookie Stix” Carlisle on drums. Guests include Billy Branch on harmonica, Mike Wheeler on guitar and Mud’s daughter Lashunda Williams, who joins her dad on a loving duet, ‘Who Loves You." Several tracks have horns adding a vintage R& B feel.

While there are a couple of new versions of recordings his father made, most of the songs on this are his originals, so this release allows Mud to shine as more than someone recreating his father's music. Certainly the use of horns and original material enables Mud to establish his own personality, despite the similarities of his voice to his father as on the opening title track. This song has some B.B. King styled guitar to the fore while Studebaker John's harp blends in with the horns as Mud boasts about his prowess (likening himself to an earthquake and hurricane). It is followed by a strong modern blues "48 Days," (since his woman has left as he pleads for her to return), and then then a nice soul-blues lament "Cheatin' Is Cheatin'," followed by the churning soulful funk of "Who's Fooling Who?" with biting guitar and harmonica breaks.

Vocally he comes off as honest and convincing as he does on solid cover of Muddy's "Howling Wolf," and "Can't Get No Grindin'." There is some fabulous slide guitar, as well as standout piano and harmonica, on the former number, while Ariyoshi and Studebaker John add to the rollicking flavor of the latter performance. Mike Wheeler contributes strong guitar to the funky "24 Hours," His duet with his daughter is a superb classic soul ballad performance, while "Oh Yeah," is a terrific blues at times suggestive of John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom."

The album closes with a captivating, jazz-tinged instrumental "Mud's Groove," that features Billy Branch on harmonica and is one of three selections with Mud on bass. It closes an engaging album that certainly should appeal to anyone wanting to listen to some real straight-ahead blues with a soul touch.

I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the March-April 2018 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 377) and I have made a few minor stylistic changes. Here is a video of Mud performing his bfather's "The Same Thing."

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