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John Peel OBE, 1939 - 2004

Red Lick Records



 

 

Early Blues Interview
Mud Morganfield,
singer/songwriter

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"Mud Morganfield eldest son of the undisputed king of the blues Muddy Waters has been delivering his charismatic Chicago blues of the highest order to audiences around the world .... He looks and sounds strikingly like his old man, so much so that one of his dad's former sidemen said "Mud looks and sounds like his old man in a way no one else can.  Itís like watching a ghost in the fleshĒ.
Movinmusic Agency
www.movinmusic.co.uk

"More than a pastiche.... a genuine artist who just happens to sound like his daddy.... Mud Morganfield is a natural performer, at ease and full of fun."
Fred Rothwell, Blues and Rhythm magazine

"I started to sing to show the world that dad left me here. I love and am proud to sing his songs just like I love and and will always be proud of him. I'm not Muddy Waters and I'm certainly not trying to be Muddy Waters. I'm Mud Morganfield but when I'm up on stage I always feel pops is there with me and it means so much that I can get on stage and keep his music alive around the world."
Mud Morganfield

He has shared the stage and gained the respect of many of his Dad's ex sidemen and Chicago blues superstars, Buddy Guy, Kenny 'Big Eyes' Smith, Eddie 'The Chief' Clearwater, Pinetop Perkins, Jimmie Johnson, Mojo Buford, to name but a few and at The 2009 Chicago Blues Festival he shared front man duties with his younger brother Big Bill Morganfield in fronting an all star band including the legendary musicians - Pinetop Perkins and Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith to an explosive audience reaction.
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© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

I caught up with Mud Morganfield at the Carlisle Blues Festival during his UK tour with The Dirty Aces.

Alan:   You were born the first son of Muddy Waters in 1954 but where exactly where you born?

Mud:   I was born in Chicago.

Alan:   And what were your first musical memories?

Mud:   Hearing Pops play around the house.  Sometime my Mom would take me into the bars.

Alan:   You were raised by your mother as Larry Williams, using your motherís maiden name.  It must have been hard during those early years?

Mud:   Very hard.  It was hard for Momma to raise boys.  They can raise girls but itís hard to raise young men.

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   How often did you see your Dad?

Mud:   Not often at all.  Not as often as Iíd have liked to but he was always on the road working and when he came home he always wanted to sleep 2 to 3 days from being jet-lagged. 

Alan:   Did you always want to become a musician?

Mud:   I always have played music.  Pop used to buy me a set of drums every Christmas.  I started off as a drummer and gradually went to playing bass and writing by bass.  I donít play bass professionally but I have several that I write my music by.

Alan:   For many years you kept a low profile really.  How did you get started in music?

Mud:   Itís always been a part of me.  Just because say BB King or Buddy Guy have children it donít mean the children are going to carry on in their footsteps so to speak.  It donít always happen out there you know, you could be a doctor and your kid could be a rock star.

Alan:   ďMud looks and sounds like his old man in a way no one else can.  Itís like watching a ghost in the fleshĒ - a quote that's been said about you.   How does it feel being the eldest son of probably the most famous blues legend of them all?

Mud:   Itís a blessing and it can also be a curse.  Iíve heard people compare me, and people loved Pops and Iíve tried to make it very clear that Iím just an apple that fell off the tree and it gives me great honour to keep my Dadís legacy alive.  Not only that but I think we have a born right as children to kind of like mimic the parents, be it the mom or the dad and in this case it's my father.

Alan:   Apart from your Dad, who are your favourite blues artists?

Mud:   Well, you know, I talk a lot with the Dirty Aces, theyíre a great band weíve toured together several times and I tried to explain even to my audience that I didnít come up in the area that my Dad did with the old James Cotton's and stuff.  It was a totally different era, the era with the Johnny Taylors, the Tyrone Daviesís, the Michael Jacksonís, the Temptations.  You know I come up with those kind of guys so I kind of related to them but I always thought about my Dad and his music.

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   Apart from your Dad obviously, whoís influenced you in your writing of your own material?

Mud:   My Mom!  Oh, the sun donít shine till my Momís up with me and sheís been a shine in the dark for me.

Alan:   Are there any particular songs you play which have special meaning to you?

Mud:   Yes, theyíre my Dadís, theyíre his stuff.  We play some of my own stuff and Iím looking at releasing a new CD in January or the beginning of February and itís just my own stuff.  Again Iím humbled and Iím honoured to do my fatherís stuff.

Alan:   Tell me about the making of your 2008 debut studio album, 'Fall Waters Fall' was it mainly your own material?

Mud:   Yes, that all come out of me alone in my room with my bass guitar writing the riffs and I had some great players on it like Tom Holland, Rick Kreher who was my Dadís last guitar player, I had some great cats who gave me a pretty good sound.  I was still a greenhorn too, ha, ha!   But the one particular song on there is the 'Fall Waters Fall';  song, a song I dedicated to my father.  There was so many things that me and my Dad didnít get a chance to talk about as a young man and I just miss him so greatly, his guidance, itís all in that song.

Alan:   Is there a conflict between audiences that want to hear Muddyís music and playing your own material; do people come along asking for Muddy songs?

Mud:   I get that a lot and people begin to look to me for that.  I donít want to blow my horn but itís not done quite like that by anyone but me and Iím just on it.  Sometimes I donít know who to thank for it, do I thank Pops, do I thank God, who do I thank that gave me this voice?

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   Tell me about the making of your latest album, Live, which I understand was recorded in Jersey with the Dirty Aces.

Mud:   Yes, you know I feel a strong attachment to England.   These cats come over, everyone knows the story - the Rolling Stones, and they got Pop involved in England and the English accepted my father whole-heartedly and I feel attached for that.

Alan:   I remember seeing him at Mothers Club in Birmingham, England Ė fabulous, absolutely fabulous. 

Alan:   How did you first meet up with the Dirty Aces?

Mud:   I think that was Giles Robson. He saw me on You Tube somewhere and he sent me an email and we started talking and he was speaking about this great piece of land called Jersey and he brought me over.  From there the recording became a living.

Alan:   In May this year you took part in the Amtrak National Train Day.

Mud:   Ahh, great stuff!  You know that thing there was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me.   For a few reasons. One, I got a chance to visit a bunch of southern states that I had never seen in my entire life and I stayed there.   Not only that each place we stopped we had a brass band like we were Obama and food just lay on the table and we were on such a tight schedule that the band played, we grabbed a little food , got back on the train and hit the next southern state.  We ended up at my Dadís in Rolling Fork and when we got off the train there must have been about 10 or 20 of my kin folk who me and my brothers never had met so it was just fantastic, man.

Alan:   And then you played at Ground Zero Club, Clarksdale.

Mud:   Yes, we played at Ground Zero with Big Bill and Grady Champion.

Alan:   Oh, Grady Champion! I saw him at Chicago Blues Festival this year.

Mud:   Yes, Grady Champion.... He's hot!

Alan:   He had this dancer in front of the stage in a bikini, wow she was hot!

Mud:   This guy, Grady, he was twisting and blowing the harp before we even got off the train. Heís a handful and I love him to death.

Alan:   That must have been fantastic, a great experience for you.

Mud:   It certainly was.

Mud, Big Bill and Grady Champion in Mississippi celebrating National Train Day, 6th May 2010 ...


 

Alan:   Some music styles may be fads but the blues is always with us.  Why do you think that is?

Mud:   Itís simple, everyone has the blues, even babies.  They want a bottle and you donít give Ďem a bottle they get the blues and they go to kicking, screaming.  You know the blues is just an emotion, yeh, itís life.  If you canít pay your rent, you got some blues.  Anything that puts you in a depressing state is definitely got to be called the blues.

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Alan:   So how do you see the future of blues music?

Mud:   I'll just tell you, Iíll be honest with you.  I come out 5 or 6 years ago and I am just really astounded by how many new up and coming blues artists are not really accepted inside on the clique,  as you may call it, inside the clan.  But hereís the kicker Ė they say that the blues is lost, it's dead, it's gone, bye, but you wonít let these artists come in.  You have some great artists standing in the street playing for coins.

Alan:   As you've been over here a few times, how would you compare the UK to the States?

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Mud:   I gotta go home now, ha, ha!  [Lots of background laugher from the band] I ain't gonna answer that!   But, let me just tell you this.  I travel the world on Godís will and I never saw an audience greater than overseas.  I had one show in Jersey, where I met the Dirty Aces, that you could hear a pin drop on the floor.  Go imagine that, itís great stuff, I love it.

Alan:   So what are your future plans?  You mentioned a CD in the New Year.

Mud:   Yes, I want to try and get something out.  Iíve been working on a bunch of stuff that I think is great, although what might be great to me might not be great to you but itís still gonna come out blues that I guarantee you. It will definitely come out blues.

Alan:   Mud, thank you very much indeed.
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Mud and The Dirty Aces during their 2010 UK tour, featuring Giles Robson on harp, Mike Hellier on drums, Ian Jennings on bass and Filip Kozlowski on guitar ....


 

Mud and Big Bill play Mannish Boy at Chicago Blues Festival 2009 ...


Check out Mud's UK tour plans for 2011 at www.movinmusic.co.uk

Check out photos of Mud Morganfield at the Carlisle Blues Festival

Return to Blues Interviews List

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