McKinley Morganfield was the gigantially influential pseudonymed 'Muddy Waters', and Mud Morganfield is his son. I dig the blues—hell, who doesn't?—but I REALLY dig the Chicago blues, and Waters was a prime exponent of the style, in fact started the gig with Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Rogers, and a passel of others. It was the Chicago sound which birthed what, to me, was its latterday ne plus ultra, dirty white blues, and thus we had Jimi Hendrix, Peter Green, Rory Gallagher, John Mayall, Alexis Korner, Mike Bloomfield, the Rolling Stones, the divine lunatic Capt. Beefheart, and a galaxy of top-drawer inspired talents.
Wait a minute…I keep forgetting…was Hendrix white??? The guy was so past everything on Earth that I can never recall his skin color, as if that mattered for anything, given Jimi's own claim of being Martian. Let me check the Net and see what's what, but that's the sort of wealth of slowly cross-pollinating elements the Chicago sound generated, and if anyone is more well suited to re-present it than Muddy's own son, then hell if I know who that might be, 'cause he way outdoes himself in this CD co-captained by The Thunderbirds' Kim Wilson, one of North America's most highly regarded harp players. And Wilson, never one to be trailing behind, also tops his best. That's just for starters.
The stellar merits of the two pre-existed For Pops, but once Severn Records had released both Morganfield's last outing, Son of the 7th Son, and the T-Birds' On the Verge, the imprint's prezdawg, David Earl (who co-produced and co-enigneered this new gig), was besieged with an avalanche of calls, letters, and e-mails pleading for a match-up twixt the twain. Earl phoned the gentz and, boom!, the result is one of the best blues CDs of the last decade. It's that goddamn good. Everything here is classic material, with the lion's share written by Waters and Dixon, now performed in 2014 with riveting vintage gusto, but I'd also like to know what kinda mikes and amps the band and studio were using 'cause there's an consummate antiquarian analogue tone to everything, dirty and crystal clear simultaneously. Earl and John Montforte, behind the boards, knew precisely what they wanted and got it, fat, warm, and golden.
Morganfield's also picking up an impressive take on John Lee Hooker—catch Still A Fool for the most vivid example—along with everything else, and Wilson just wails—when, that is, he's not cajoling and coaxing the ear in subtler whispers and breathy atmospherics, more than adept at all of it. Guitarists Billy Flynn and Rusty Zinn back the frontmen to the hilt when the six-string elements step to the fore, Nineteen Years Old a great example, and the deeper in you get with this release, the better and better it becomes until you have to cry out "Stop! Stop! It's too much for one man to take! Have mercy……owaitaminnit, is that a bottle of Johnny Walker's best I see in your hand, a jug of moon in t'other?? Okay then, babbaloo, break 'em open and let's finish this bad-boy blues gig in style!"
It's that kind of a mow-ya-down platter, and I sincerely doubt either gent will ever be able to top For Pops, it's just not humanly possible, 'n I ain't for one moment joking, y'all. If this release doesn't go over BIG, then I'm definitely on the wrong planet and will be much obliged if someone will call the mothership back, as I think I may need to settle in with Jimi and away from the tin ears on this sad shithole, having, as Janis wailed, an incurable case of the kosmic blues, baby.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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