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Gentlemanly Jams – Muddy Waters’ “Hard Again”

We hope everyone’s been having as good a spring as we have. We’ve been quite busy at the shop (our trunk show specials are good through the 15th!), and we wanted to share what we’ve been listening to. Lately, the gentlemanly jams at the office have been the blues – specifically, Muddy Water’s 1977 album “Hard Again.”

Muddy Waters – Brief Background

muddy waters grave siteBorn McKinley Morganfield, Muddy Waters was one of the most influential individuals in American music history. Born into a Mississippi sharecropping family in 1913, he became a guitarist and harmonica player, emulating the likes of Son House and Robert Johnson. His work would prove to be one of the main driving influences in the creation of rock and roll and even hard rock music.

We can thank Muddy Waters for what we know as the “Chicago blues” style. It was a departure from the acoustic beginnings of blues, instead utilizing amplified instruments. This sound – boisterous, soulful, gritty, and groovy – caught the ear of the post-World-War-II United States, and Muddy became famous for it.

Muddy Waters' outfit rock and roll hall of fame
Muddy Waters clearly had a bold sense of style that matched the brashness of his music. Photo by Sam Howzit.

Muddy Waters in a light suitAs you can see here, he was no slouch when it came to dressing, either. The guy knew how to wear a suit, the sport coat pictured below looks like something we’d make for a client here in the year 2021.

“Hard Again”

Hard Again was released in 1977, only six years before Muddy Waters passed away. Despite being so late in his life, it’s an album that’s full of life and vitality. In fact, Muddy is one of the few musicians in modern times who’s known to have released some of his best work in his later years, not the early ones.

The intro track, “Mannish Boy,” is a staple of any “Best of” blues compilation you might come across, and for good reason. Though the song’s main riff consists of only three or four notes, it’s got swagger for days. “Bus Driver” is a brash, boisterous song about a man whose woman left him for a bus driver, and “I Want To Be Loved #2” is a bouncy shuffle that epitomizes Muddy’s electric blues.

You can hear a direct connection from this album to bands like Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, and others of the era. Muddy knew this too – one of the songs on Hard Again is called “The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock and Roll.” As far as his guitar playing, he was a huge influence on many, namely the late, great Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Parting Thoughts

Hard Again is a heck of an album, and we’d love to share a listen. Give us a call at 215-310-0219 or email info@henrydavidsen.com to set up an appointment – it’s always great to have a solid soundtrack when working on your image.

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