This week’s Lost Treasure is a special selection for budding harmonica player & Puget Sound Media contributor/beat reporter Bill Ogden. From 1960 on Chess Records, it’s the B-side to Muddy Waters hit “Love Affair”. The B-side: “Look What You’ve Done” was a popular choice for blues guitarist/harmonica player Muddy to showcase his band at live shows & concerts. Born McKinley Morganfield in 1913, his musical career began in 1941 with a pair of recordings made by musicologist Alan Lomax who recorded Muddy at his home near Clarksdale, Miss for the Library of Congress Folkways Records. Like many young blues musicians, he headed to Chicago in the mid-40’s, & began performing as an opener for Big Bill Broonzy at South Side clubs & taverns. His first attempt at commercial recordings for Columbia failed, but by 1947 he began recording for the Chess Bros., whose label Aristocrat soon changed it name to Chess & also Checker Records. The R&B hits began in 1948 with “Rollin’ Stone”. He soon assembled a crack team of musicians into a band who are heard on 1960’s “Look What You’ve Done”: harmonica player ‘Little Walter’ Jacobs, bassist Willie Dixon, pianist Otis Spann & Jimmy Rogers on guitar. Most of these musicians would find success recording under their own names by the mid-1950’s, but were assembled in the studio when ever Muddy was ready to record. By 1955 his numerous records were charting on Billboard’s R&B charts, but by the early 60’s his commercial peak had passed. Relying on live performances, such as the Newport Jazz Festival kept him in the public spotlight. In the mid to late 60’s the discovery of & revival of blues music by British bands such as The Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Alexis Korner, Cyril Davies, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers & Fleetwood Mac made it possible for Muddy Waters to again record with some minor success among blues fans.
In 1969 he recorded a landmark album “Fathers & Sons” backed by a new generation of Chicago blues musicians: Paul Butterfield on harmonica & Elvin Bishop & Michael Bloomfield on guitar. This proved so successful he repeated the same formula by heading to London in 1972 to record “The London Muddy Waters Sessions” with Rory Gallagher, Steve Winwood, Rick Grech & Mitch Mitchell. Although Muddy was dissatisfied with the results, the album proved one of his best selling records of all time & earned him his first Grammy Award. The formula was repeated once more in 1975 with release of the LP “The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album” with Pinetop Perkins, Paul Butterfield, Bob Margolin & Levon Helm & Garth Hudson of The Band. This resulted in his second Emmy. In the late 70’s Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winters produced & played on some highly acclaimed album releases with most also winning Grammy’s & all were artistic & commercial successes. He continued making festival appearances until the early 80’s but by 1982 health problems were taking their toll. Muddy Water died at his home at Westmont, Illinois in 1983 from heart failure resulting from cancer complications. He has received many honors since his death including a Mississippi Blues Trail marker, plaque & cairn at his boyhood home in Clarksdale, & has streets named after him in both Chicago & it’s suburb of Westmont where he lived his final years. Enjoy this blues classic & play along with revered musician Muddy Waters in this 12-bar blues “Look What You’ve Done”.
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