Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters

Robert Gordon

Muddy Waters was the original “Mojo” man, possessing a charisma that went beyond the sexual. He was the Buddha of the blues. The Chess brothers wined and signed him to their fledgling Chicago label (giving them a string of hit records in the ’50s). Muddy’s overseer at the Stovall Plantation also sought his company, and the late Alan Lomax traveled from New York to Mississippi to do a mobile recording for the Library of Congress before Muddy had even sung at fish fries or juke joints in outlying counties. Like many rural blues artists, he went electric in the northern city. He had the first and best combo (Jimmy Rodgers, Little Walter, Otis Spann), and a vocal and bottleneck style that were original and riveting. As Keith Richards states in his forward, Muddy’s influence on rock ’n’ roll can’t be overestimated: “Without Muddy, there’d be no Stones.”