McKinley Morganfield, better known as Muddy Waters, was one of the most influential artists of all time. His innovation in jazz and rhythm and blues music continues to leave its mark today. In this performance, he is covering a song called “The Howling Wolf”.
This song was originally written and performed by Sam “Lightin'” Hopkins. Hopkins and Waters were both known for their influential styles. This performance took place in Warsaw, Poland 1976 at the Jazz Jamboree. The entire concert was filmed and is still available for viewing today.
This cover opens with Muddy Waters playing a jazzy, downbeat. His gravelly, voice perfectly captures the emotional lyrics of the song. A classic harmonica accompanies the guitar and vocals from the beginning of the song. The band continues to riff on the song until 3:54 where the music breaks for a guitar and then a harmonica solo. Be sure to watch until 6:44 when Muddy Waters acts out his inside howling wolf.
Blues is a musical genre known as the folklore of African-American musicians. Its origins are associated with the southern states of the USA, that is the region conventionally called the “deep south”. The very name of the genre (sadness, despair) is related to its nostalgic form, also in the textual layer. Blues pieces touch male-female relationships as well as feelings and emotions (love, loneliness, faithfulness, jealousy). However, blues performers often sing about freedom, work and travel. The songs also feature social criticism relating mainly to racial inequality and political issues.
Many artists are inspired by blues music and combine it with other styles. In this way, such musical mergers as punk blues, soul blues or blues rock. The popularity of this genre in the USA has led to the emergence of regional varieties, such as Louisiana, New Orleans, Texas and Detroit blues. There are also factions characteristic of other countries – British blues and African blues.