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Review: Mud Morganfield, Son of the Seventh Son

Mud Morganfield
Son of the Seventh Son
[Severn Records (2012)]

It’s never easy being the son of a major dad as Mud Morganfield is to his father, the legendary Muddy Waters, since comparisons are always inevitable and often unjust. Yet, it’s also a crime to waste God-given talent, which Muddy’s eldest son finally acknowledges with his debut disc at the ripe ole age of 57. Though he’s known for thumping bass, here he drops the axe and focuses solely on vocals, which tone-wise and stylistically bear an uncanny and haunting resemblance to those of his father. The atmospheric, spacious arrangements are similarly rooted in Muddy’s era with lots of loose, spontaneous guitar-piano-harmonica interplay on the various shuffles, mid-tempo strutters and slow groovers, making this one of the better old school Chicago blues CDs to come along in some time. (Interestingly, Rick Kreher, one of the two guitarists featured here, played in Muddy’s band at the time his death.)

While there is a deep reverence to one of blues most innovative talents, Mud’s not shy about revealing one of his own gifts, songwriting, penning the lion’s share with seven tracks. Most are in the Chicago style, though “Catfishing” has a touch of contemporary soul, Mud’s music of choice growing up on Chicago’s tough West Side. He has a flair for interest-piquing storytelling, like “Midnight Lover” where an adulterous protagonist can’t stop his midnight service calls. Better yet is the closing track, “Blues in My Shoes” where Mud unabashedly tells his life story with no holds barred. No question that Mud has lived his life with the blues, making him a real deal instead of another great pretender.

—Dan Willging (Denver, CO)

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