“I was born in the blues. I may have been tapping on my mother’s stomach, I can remember theses beats stayed in my head and me singing myself to sleep.”
Mud Morganfield – or as he’s popularly known, Muddy Water Jr. – will perform at The Mercedes benz Colombo Jazz festival on the 19th of February.
The oldest son of Muddy Waters, he naturally grew up surrounded by music, particularly the blues; although he would only make use of this inheritance after his father’s passing in 1983, picking up the drums and bass guitar.
At this point in time, Mud was working as a truck driver to support himself, very much like his dad when he had first started out. Mud revealed that a recurring dream of Muddy Waters may have finally motivated him to get on stage.
“I had a couple of dreams of my father, and it was so strange,” he explains. “The first dream was [of him] playing on the stage, and he wouldn’t talk to me. I’m down there, I’m waving up at him – he’s playing up on a high stage – but he never answered me. I woke up out of that and thought, ‘That was really strange’. I never had dreamed about my father but that particular time I did. But it was just a dream; I brushed it off. But lo and behold, a week later I had the same exact dream. Now, did that persuade me to start singing the blues professionally? I don’t know, but here I am.”
Mud made up for lost time, launching his career from the clubs of Southside of Chicago, performing a mix of his father’s material as well as his own original works.
Mud’s voice resembles his father’s in both tone and timbre. He describes this as ‘a double-edged sword’ for he has inherited both the latter’s strengths and weaknesses.
The similarity is evident in For Pops: A Tribute To Muddy Waters, an album on which Morganfield performs several Muddy Waters songs.
Mud was raised by his mum although his dad was never far from him. His dad, he notes, “was always on the road working”. As a teen, Mud was drawn to the newer sounds of ‘young black America’. “I’m a Motown, rhythm-and-blues baby” he explains; a genre popularized by musicians such as The Jackson Five and Smokey Robinson. This soon changed as Mud’s blues music gained wide appeal in the twenty-first century.
Mud Morganfield’s music is the sound of the modern Chicago blues: dynamic, gritty and electric, yet with a traditional edge that pays homage to his father’s legacy.