McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield left Stovalls plantation outside Clarksdale for Chicago in 1943, drawn by the wartime boom in factory jobs. By the late 1940s his electrified rural delta style brought him success as a blues musician with hits such as “I Cant Be Satisfied” (1948). Having signed to Chess records, Waters’ started to enjoy the commercial success that his music allowed him. The audience responded, Marshall Chess recalled to R&B historian Arnold Shaw that “Waters hit the local crowds like Elvis Presley hit the rock n roll scene. .. On Saturday they’d line up ten deep”.(1)
Working in the fields of Mississippi Delta, Water’s was brought up surrounded by the “field hollers” that provided blues with its distinctive vocal
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As popular as this style was, Waters managed to convince Chess records to record the with the band he’d been working with in live venues. This included Little Walter on harmonica and others on drums, string bass, electric rhythm guitar and piano which made up the “core” of the band. They recorded tracks together such as “Louisiana Blues” (1951) which demonstrates the evolution of Water’s style which had come along way from Alan Lomax’s recordings in 1941. The “core band” that Water’s created not only was successful but became the model for the modern rock band.(5)
By the early 1950’s, Water’s mix of electricity and rural roots was being exploited by a generation of southern players such as Lightnin’ Hopkins in Housten; Elmore James in Jackson and Sonny Boy Williamson in Helena.(6) This shows the range of Muddy Water’s influence from Chicago and how he helped to highlight a range of other southern blues musicians through his achievements in the blues genre.
Muddy Waters records were also being sold in Britain where several blues enthusiasts had secured copies of the Library of Congress collection that included Water’s