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The Muddy Sound Described By Bob Margolin

Muddy at Pow Wow Days - 1977Muddy Waters is not more widely credited with being a great slide guitar player only because his singing, his legendary position in the Blues World, and his charisma are pretty distracting. But his slide guitar playing was so powerful that he could never be upstaged, even by other guitar players whom we consider to be great. Muddy's early Delta Blues mostly open-tuning slide guitar was influenced by Son House and Robert Johnson.

He took Chicago by storm in the late '40s when he played it on the "modern" innovation, the electric guitar, with a small band. Using a small amplifier turned up to where the notes would distort in vocal-like ways, sometimes smooth, sometimes raucous, Muddy's slide guitar provided solid rhythm, answered his singing, and took slashing powerful solos.

In the '50s, Muddy began to play his guitar more often in conventional tuning, but continued to play slide, much in the guitar styles of Tampa Red and Robert Nighthawk. As with his voice, Muddy would slide up and down to notes, and use a range of wide or narrow vibrato, to make his slide notes sing. The trademark electric slide solo that he played on many of his slow blues songs was guaranteed to drive his audiences crazy. You could spend the rest of your life digging the subtleties and emotion and rhythm and surprises in Muddy Waters' slide guitar playing, and you'd never get to the bottom.
-BOB MARGOLIN

Bob Margolin spent many years in Muddy's touring band and has become a successful solo artist and journalist.

For more information on Bob Margolin contact: Bonnie Tallman, BC Productions (570) 584 4480 or Alligator Records www.alligator.com

The Voice
"Mannish Boy"
from
Hard Again

Acoustic Slide
"I Be's Troubled"
from
The Complete Plantation Recordings

Electric Slide
"Long Distance Call"
from
Fathers & Sons
as well as
Muddy & The Wolf


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