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Paul McCartney and the Blues

In a past interview, Paul McCartney was asked how it feels to be a member of the greatest band in history.  His reply, "You mean other than Muddy Water's Band?" 

So why would someone of McCartney's stature give that kind of recognition to Muddy Water's Band?  Let's review who was in it.  They are certainly a group of All Time All Stars: in the 50's, Little Walter on Harp, Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Willie Dixon on bass, Otis Spann on piano. Later on, a young Buddy Guy was added on acoustic guitar. 

At one point, Muddy used a backing band that included Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield for his 1969 album "Fathers and Sons." 

Muddy also used guitarist Sammy Lawhorn, as well as Rory Gallagher, Steve Winwood, Rick Grech, and Mitch Mitchell.  Then came collaborations with Bob Margolin, Pinetop Perkins, Paul Butterfield, as well as Levon Helm and Garth Hudson of The Band.

I'm sure McCartney was speaking of the original band, including Buddy Guy. 

Some of my favorite Muddy Waters compositions:

Champagne and Reefer, Clouds in my Heart, Country Boy, Cross Eyed Cat, (Perhaps the Influence for Keith Richard's Cross Eyed Heart?), Evil, Find Yourself Another Fool, Goin' Down to Main Street, Going Home, Gypsy Woman, Iodine in my Coffee, My Love Strikes Like Lightning, She's 19 Years Old, Lonesome Day, One More Mile, Where's My Woman Been, Sad Letter Blues, Long Distance Call, Loving Man, You're Gonna Miss Me, She Moves Me, Mule Kickin' in my Stall, She's All Right, Still a Fool, to name a few. 

The hell, you say.  Many of the best songs are missing from that list!

I Just Want to Make Love to You, Hoochie Cootchie Man, Don't Go No Further, I Got My Brand on You, I Love the Life I Live, I Live the Life I Love, I'm a Natural Born Lover, I'm Ready, I Want to be Loved?  Muddy's bass player, Willie Dixon, wrote those songs and a host of others for many prominent Blues musicians. 

I hope some of you blues aficionados will weigh in on this.  Next, we can talk about Eric Clapton or Jimmie Hendrix's comment when asked how it feels to be the world's greatest guitarist.  Phil Keaggy?  No Clapton didn't say "Prince."  After seeing Tommie Emmanuel, he's my guy. More on that later.

1 comment

  • From Bob Margolin’s FB page – "Yesterday, I posted a photo of Paul McCartney appearing to say he thought the Muddy Waters Band was the “greatest band of all time” rather than the Beatles. Then I told some stories about being in Muddy’s band and my own appreciation of the Beatles. I’m glad you enjoyed the story but the quote in Paul’s photo was apparently changed to “Muddy” from “The Ramones” by a music fan who thought it would be funny. My connection with Muddy, from being in his band, caused many of my friends to share the playful, harmless fake quote.I’m glad you enjoyed my stories, which are 100% real.How easy it is to make any made-up story seem real on the internet. Yet another story of the Muddy-Beatles non-connection would be: On the night that George Harrison visited the 1978 Eric Clapton tour where Muddy was opening, we finished a strong set and as I walked backstage, there was George and he said to me: “I like the way you play.” I returned the compliment, stunned by the ironic experience. Back in Muddy’s dressing room, one of Eric’s people brought George in and said, “Muddy, this is George.” They chatted briefly and when George’s attention was elsewhere for a second, one of our band members whispered to Muddy “Beatles’ guitar player.” Muddy winked “Gotcha.” Muddy, born in 1915, was in his 40’s when the Beatles got famous and had heard of them but didn’t know anything about them. Muddy asked George, “So how are the Beatles doing?” George immediately realized what was happening and smiled, “I don’t know, we broke up 10 years ago.”"


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