Magazine article Guitar Player

Big Bill Morganfield's Moody Blues

Magazine article Guitar Player

Big Bill Morganfield's Moody Blues

Article excerpt

BIG BILL MORGANFIELD'S LATEST ALBUM, Blues with a Mood [Black Shuck], opens with a smoking rendition of his father's 1960 release "Look What You've Done." There's also a tune by his dad's bassist, Willie Dixon, one by Memphis Slim, and another cover-but the seven songs penned by Big Bill himself mesh perfectly with his takes on the classics, which shouldn't be entirely surprising given that he's the son of McKinley Morganfield, a.k.a. Muddy Waters.

Perhaps more surprising is that the younger Morganfield didn't begin playing guitar until he was in his late 20s. "When my father passed away in 1983, all of these guys were doing tributes, and I thought that it would be nice for his kid to do one, too, because he had expressed interest in somebody in the family playing blues music," he says. "After all, when I listened to the blues, it didn't sound that hard to play--though when I tried to recreate some of the stuff from the Chicago era I had a rude awakening. It took me six years to get something together, and I didn't release my first record, Rising Son, until 1999." That album led to Morganfield receiving the W.C. Handy Award for Best New Blues Artist in 2000.

Morganfield's voice is eerily reminiscent of his father's, and his authoritative rhythm, lead, and slide guitar work is showcased throughout Blues with a Mood, but guitarists Bob Margolin (who played with Muddy Waters from 1973 to 1980), Colin Linden, Brian Bisesi, and Eddie Taylor Jr. …

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