MUDDY WATERS II
(Dancing Muddy)
Antone’s
June 20 – 21, 1980
11” x 17” (27.94cm x 43.18cm)

This is the second Muddy Waters poster that I did for Antone’s. Identified as the Dancing Muddy, this joyful approach is a counterpoise to the first, with its more reverential feel. Both pieces established themes incorporated throughout subsequent pieces, and are meant to unify the entire body of work through a weave of self-referencing images and motifs. The first poster, Bust of Muddy, produced in 1978, introduced the playing card motif while this one establishes my first attempt to render the music as shape and form. Visually challenging, each effort has its own particular character and approach. Here the music is depicted in a stark and graphic fashion, directly referencing the music through the use of universal symbols and musical glyphs in conjunction with graphic shapes meant to capture for the eyes ephemeral sound. The overall design resembles a bandana motif - a homage to Muddy's, and the Blues, roots in the rural South.

  

Truly one of the patriarchs of the Blues, Muddy Waters embodies both the power of the music and of the passion of the people from which it sprang. His story is the story of the transition and transformation of both, as the music migrated from its rural roots to fertile urban soil after the Second World War and from there throughout the world. Its raw power, emotional force, and primal spirit, electrified as it passed from the field to the street is contained in the span of this man's life.

By the time of the concert this poster was commissioned for --Muddy's third performance at Antone’s -- the club was forced from its birthplace at Sixth and Brazos in the gritty heart of downtown and moved to its second location on Great Northern Blvd. Suburban, and worse, north of the University, it was an unusual setting and unusual times for Austin's Home of the Blues. Clifford began to book a lot of country and western acts at this location. With notable exceptions such as Asleep at the Wheel, they weren't the homegrown or Cosmic Cowboy variety, but musicians such as George Jones, Ray Price, Tanya Tucker and Jerry Lee Lewis. It was this show of Muddy's that really anointed the second location with its original blues vision. As always, the blues musicians that crowded the local scene in such venues as Alexander's, After Hours, Austex Lounge and the Rome Inn, were there to pay homage and to learn. The Thunderbirds had opened for Muddy last time through. Jimmie Vaughan's brother, Stevie, had left Lou Ann Barton and the Triple Threat Revue earlier in the year, and his new band, Double Trouble was filling that slot. It was an incredible show, with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hubert Sumlin dazzling everyone as they played off one another.

Born McKinley Morganfield on April 14, 1915 in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, he acquired his second name for his love of a nearby creek. His mother died when he was small and he moved in with his grandmother on Stovall's Plantation, and it was here he learned to play the harmonica and later the guitar in a band called the Son Simms Four. Influenced by Son House and Robert Johnson, he was first recorded by Alan Lomax in 1941, and then again a year later. He moved to Chicago in 1943 and his friendship with Big Bill Broonzey helped him get his first recordings by Columbia in 1946. He also played acoustic guitar for John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson and joined with Sunnyland Slim, Jimmie Rogers, Claude Smith and Eddie Boyd. In 1948, Leonard Chess recorded Muddy Waters. From 1951 through 1960, some of his best pieces were created, including Mannish Boy, Got My Mojo Workin', Rolling Stone and I'm Ready. A tour of England in 1958, before his world renowned performance at Newport, exposed him and his music to many of the budding musicians that would dominate rock and roll in the Sixties. And it was in this way that most Americans came to be introduced to Muddy Waters. He died of a heart attack in 1983. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.


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