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.