Saturday, April 4, 2009

MUDDY WATERS, "Why Don't You Live So God Can Use You"

“Father of Chicago Blues”

Referring to his nickname, “Muddy Water” he says that as a child his grandmother used to tell him not to play in the muddy water and eventually the name stuck. He even refers to himself as ‘Muddy Water’, no ‘S’. It was Leonard Chess who inadvertently added the ‘S’ to his first commercial recording and his new name was thus created. The songs that Muddy recorded for Lomax are extremely important for the history of the blues because they give a great indication as to not only the place to which the blues were heading, but also the continuing power of the older styles, even the proto-blues.

The song “Why Don’t You Live So God Can Use You” was important in reflecting the influences and musical divides that Muddy was not afraid to cross. He had a mix of many different influences and this song in particular is out of the guitar evangelist tradition. The song is almost identical to Blind Benny Paris’ “I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me” which is important in highlighting that ideas of ownership or authorship were not very important at the time.

Muddy referred to his own style as country style. He also used a thumb pick, which had not been used before, and became his signature sound.

check out Muddy Water's song here:

informational sources:

Muddy Waters. Why Don't You Live So God Can Use You Up. Chess Records. 1942.

Re-released. Muddy Waters Library of Congress Recordings (1941-1942) and Early Commercial Records (1946-1951).Document Records. Jan 1, 1992

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