Review: Mud Morganfield – Son Of The Seventh Son

Posted on: Friday, May 25, 2012

Mud Morganfield High Res.jpg

(Pic: Courtesy of Severn Records)

Mud Morganfield – Son Of The Seventh Son

(Severn Records: Severn CD 0055)

To be born the eldest son of the legendary Muddy Waters and then decide to follow in his shoes and play the riveting Chicago blues his dad was famous for, to me, takes a lot of courage . . . especially as Mud, known as Larry when growing up on the West Side of the city . . . only decided as late as 2005 to seriously sing the blues professionally, having sung since the 1980s.

Since then he has summoned up the spirit of his late father with utterly convincing live shows that has seen him become hugely popular in Europe and South America, and has appeared at some major US events. The voice and demeanour of him means this is the blues that his father was master of, brought up to date, yet still retaining the classic swagger and feel of the Chicago heydays of the 50s and 60s.

“Son Of The Seventh Son” was recorded in just two days last year at Rax Trax Studios in Chicago, produced by Bob Corritore, who shares the harmonica duties here with Harmonica Hinds. The rest of the band is a collection of seasoned Chicago musicians comprising: Rick Kreher (guitar), Billy Flynn (guitar), Barrelhouse Chuck (keyboards), E.G. McDaniel (bass) and Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith (drums) . . . who forges a link to the glorious past, being the son of the late Kenny ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, who was of course on drums for many years in Muddy Waters band.

Proceedings get off to a rousing start on a tune associated with Muddy, the uptempo “Short Dress Woman”, featuring a trademark Mud Morganfield tough vocal and nice piano solo from Barrelhouse Chuck; the title cut follows, Studebaker John’s “Son Of The Seventh Son”, with shades of “I’m A Man”, and some great harmonica work from Bob Corritore. Morganfield shows he’s no slouch in the writing stakes either . . . his “Love To Flirt” is a delicious shuffle that fairly rattles along, with Harmonica Hinds stepping out on this to deliver more fine harmonica.

“Catfishing” again has that classic Chicago blues feel, but with a funky edge delivered by the guitars of Kreher and Flynn and Barrelhouse Chuck on organ; the lengthy slow blues “Health” relaxes the pace a little, as Mud waxes on the importance of good health as opposed to money and fame . . . how true! The tempo is taken up on the lovely “Loco Motor”, another Morganfield song as he proposes to journey to New Orleans – super harmonica work again here from Harmonica Hinds.

Guitarist Billy Flynn contributes “Money (Can’t Buy Me Everything)” and Bob Corritore the harmonica-led “Go Ahead And Blame Me”, with stellar performances from all, and special mention to the rock-steady ‘engine room’ of E.G. McDaniel and Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith. The penultimate track here is a lovely authentic take on Muddy Waters “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had” . . . again thoroughly convincing with some glorious slide guitar and Barrelhouse Chuck’s always sparkling piano.

For lovers of the ‘real deal’ Chicago blues “Son Of The Seventh Son” must be an essential purchase . . . shut your eyes and imagine, and this could be Muddy leading one of his classic bands in his pomp . . . . the past brought up to date in a most enjoyable and acceptable way.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.severnrecords.com

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