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Muddy Waters

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(1913 – 1983)

Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield, Issaquena County, Mississippi, April 4, 1913 - Westmont, Illinois, April 30, 1983) was an American blues musician and is generally considered “the father of .” His career spanned over thirty years and he produced what are considered to be some of the finest blues songs ever, such as Hoochie Coochie Man, Mannish Boy and Got My Mojo Working.

Muddy Waters is generally considered one of the most influential bluesmen of all time. His fondness for playing in mud earned him the nickname “Muddy” at an early age. He later changed it to “Muddy Water” and finally “Muddy Waters”.

Waters was born McKinley Morganfield in Issaquena County, Mississippi in 1913 (He later told people that he was born in 1915 in Rolling Fork, Mississippi; the reason for this remains unknown). His grandmother Della Grant raised him after his mother died in 1918. Waters started out on harmonica but by age seventeen he was playing the guitar at parties and “fish fries”, emulating two blues artists who were extremely popular in the south, Son House and Robert Johnson. “His thick heavy voice, the dark coloration of his tone and his firm almost solid personality were all clearly derived from House,” wrote Peter Guralnick in Feel Like Going Home, but the embellishments which he added, the imaginative slide technique and more agile rhythms, were closer to Johnson.”

In 1940 Waters moved to St. Louis before playing with Silas Green a year later and returning back to Mississippi.

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