Big Bill Morganfield: Blues With A Mood
Black Shuck Records http://bigbillmorganfield.net/
OK, let’s get this out of the way, Big Bill is the son of Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) so that should answer any questions about the heritage and stuff of the sort.
Now on to the music….
Opening the disc with ‘Look What You Done’, we get the straight ahead twelve bar blues that his dad brought to Chicago many years ago and made electric. Featuring outstanding harp by Steve Guyger and solid bass by Tom ‘Mookie’ Brill we instantly recognize the feel and depth of Mr. Morganfield’s ability to create music that holds true to the genre.
‘Money’s Getting Cheaper’, one of the seven original tunes included, captures the ever present truth that seems to have not changed over time. With his dad’s one-hundredth birthday tomorrow (April 4th) we hear the family ties and influences in a poignant tale of what seems to be the eternal woe of bluesmen and women around the world (and pretty much the rest of us too). Fine guitar work by another second generation bluesman, Eddie Taylor, Jr accompanied by the fine sax work by the aptly named Jim Horn round out this tune nicely.
A captivating cover of the Willie Dixon tune ‘Ohh Wee’ which features Chuck Stern on the 88’s, Bob Margolin (formerly with the Muddy Waters band) creating an old school sound profile that is as genuine as what Willie and Muddy would have played back in the day. Excellent.
From the urban post-modern streets we get to take a trip to the swampy side of things with ‘No Butter for My Grits’. Now that’s a desperate situation for sure. Mr. Colin Linden lays the slide on thick and syrupy just the way you like it, as we hear the woes experienced when ya ain’t got no butter for them grits. This is a fine example of Mr. Morganfield’s song writing ability and also shine a light on his sly sense of humor.
One other contemporary tune with strong traditional ties is ‘Tight Things’. Featuring Mr. Chuck Cotton banging out the rumba-rhythm as we are allowed in on a secret that no matter where from Chicago to Mississippi and over to New Orleans it’s those ‘tight things’ that keep it all together, and makes the world go round, a.k.a. gotta keep it tight.
On what might possibly be the most ‘Muddy Inspired’ track is Mr. Morganfield’s insightful, biographical ‘Son of the Blues’. Wonderfully constructed, and poignant with an understanding of what life can do to and for you. What you may question or reject one day might be laying the path of your future and it is yours to make it happen.
True that Big Bill wasn’t raised by his mom or dad, but there are certain things that are in your DNA and it don’t matter what you do or say, it’s gt to come out. With this release we see, hear and understand the kinship to his heritage and to the blues that is stronger than anything else out there.
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
Where Blues Thrives
Photos: Courtesy of artists