Blues Bytes


November 2022

Mud Morganfield
Delmark Records

Mud Morganfield

In 2021, Mud Morganfield signed with Delmark Records, releasing a single, "Praise Him," shortly afterward. The label has now issued Portrait, a 14-song set which collects and remixes the dozen tracks from Morganfield’s 2012 release, Son of the Seventh Son, bookending it with two new tracks, including the aforementioned single. Morganfield looks and sounds very much like his famous father, but with subsequent releases he managed to expand his sound into soul and R&B territory, so listening to his previous work proves that he’s no mere imitator. He's very much his own man.

The original release, one of my favorites of 2012 is definitely worth revisiting, but the newer tracks add to an already impressive package. One of the new tracks is the album opener, “Praise Him,” the single Morganfield released last summer. A self-penned gospel track, it describes Morganfield’s own spiritual walk and how it continues to lead him in a positive manner. Morganfield also plays bass on this inspirational track and he’s backed by guitarist Rick Kreher and Mike Wheeler, with drummer Cameron Lewis and Luca Chiellini on keyboards.

Kreher played guitar on the 2012 release, along with Billy Flynn. E.G. McDaniel played bass and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith played drums, with the late Barrelhouse Chuck working wonders on the keyboards and producer Bob Corritore and Harmonica Hinds splitting the harmonica duties. Morganfield does a couple of songs associated with his father, such as “Short Dress Woman” (written by J.T. Brown),” and Waters’ own “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had.”

He also proves himself to be a very good songwriter, submitting seven original tracks including the playful “Love To Flirt,” “Catfishing” and “Health,” which both feature Barrelhouse Chuck playing some very ’60s psychedelic organ, a great train song (“Loco Motor”), a cool slow blues (“Midnight Lover”), the swinging “Leave Me Alone,” and “Blues In My Shoes,” a nice mid-tempo shuffle. Studebaker John Grimaldi contributed “Son of the Seventh Son,” a slow burning sequel to “Seventh Son,” a favorite from his dad’s repertoire, while Corritore and Flynn each penned a track (“Go Ahead and Blame Me” and “Money (Can’t Buy Everything)” respectively).

Morganfield’s other new song rounds out Portrait, a faithful reading of the blues standard “Good Morning Little School Girl,” the John Lee Williamson tune that many a blues man, including Muddy Waters, covered over the years. The vocal similarities are remarkable between father and son and the musical backing gives the tune a late-’50s Chess feel.

If you missed Son of the Seventh Son when it came out in 2012, Portrait is a great opportunity to check out what you missed, and then some. The excellent new tracks show that Mud Morganfield figures to be a great addition to the Delmark roster.

--- Graham Clarke



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