Son Of The Seventh Son
The resemblance is uncanny. Not only does Mud
Morganfield look like his legendary father, Muddy
Waters, but his voice has the same tonal quality.
Not having seen the younger Morganfield in person
before and not heaving heard either of his two
previous CDs, I wasn't ready for what emanated from
my speakers when I hit the Play button on his latest
album, Son Of The Seven Son (Severn Records).
For a brief moment I thought I was hearing Muddy
The difference in the two Morganfields is that the
21st century version's voice doesn't have the power
or depth of that of his father. But to be honest
with you, I can't think of many singers that can do
what Muddy could do. The senior Morganfield was
truly unique, and to compare Mud to his father would
be doing this fine blueman a disservice.
Son Of The Seventh Son was produced by
Phoenix blues entrepreneur Bob Corritore, a native
of the Windy City who came back home and assembled a
solid Chicago-style band for this session. Billy
Flynn and Rick Kreher share guitar duties,
Barrelhouse Chuck handles piano and organ, E.G.
McDaniel plays bass, Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith keeps
the beat on the drums (just like his father, Willie
"Big Eyes" Smith, did for Muddy's band a generation
ago), and producer Corritore and Harmonica Hinds
share the essential harmonica accompaniment.
There's no mistaking that this disc has that iconic
Muddy Waters sound --- there's just no avoiding it
when Morganfield is behind the microphone. But by
doing seven of his own compositions and covering
only one Muddy song ("You Can't Lose What You Ain't
Never Had"), Morganfield proves that he's a fine
singer and songwriter in his own right.
The CD begins with a frantic version of J.T. Brown's
"Short Dress Woman" (also covered by Muddy on his
Folk Singer album), featuring a very nice piano
solo from Barrelhouse Chuck. Morganfield puts a nice
finish to the song by shouting out, "Oh honey,
you're killing me.'
The title cut, written by Chicago artist Studebaker
John Grimaldi, follows --- it's a slow blues that
continues Muddy's narrative from the Willie Dixon
original, "Seventh Son." Corritore contributes just
the right hoodoo harmonica riffs in the background.
Morganfield takes his vocals to the next level on
his first original number on the disc, the playful
shuffle "Love To Flirt." Hinds steps in on harmonica
accompaniment here and acquits himself well.
Barrelhouse Chuck switches over to organ for another
Morganfield original blues, "Catfishing," giving
this one a little more of a 1960s almost psychedelic
groove. "Health" continues with that same sound as
Morganfield sings about the value of good health ---
kind of a retro musical vibe with more of a current
Blues history is full of songs about trains, and
Morganfield's got his own original number, "Loco
Motor," with Corritore blowing a nice harp solo
while also contributing the required train whistle
sounds. Barrelhouse Chuck comes in with a nice piano
Guitarist Flynn contributes one of his own
compositions, "Money (Can't Buy Everything)," with
Barrelhouse Chuck moving back over to the organ for
a smokin' solo midway through this blues shuffle.
There's also some nice slide guitar licks from
Morganfield's voice goes into a higher range for the
slow blues, "Midnight Lover," as he sings about
coming home to confront his wife about her romantic
dalliance with the man next door. Barrelhouse Chuck
plays some very tasteful late night piano here, and
the guitar work is exquisite. A very nice cut.
Corritore wrote the next number, the mid-tempo "Go
Ahead And Blame Me," and also blows a strong harp
solo. Morganfield sounds even more like his father
here --- it's really amazing. As we head into the
home stretch, the band picks up the tempo on still
another Morganfield original, "Leave Me Alone,"
which gives Corritore still another opportunity to
show off his blues harmonica expertise.
A very nice slide guitar solo from Flynn provides
the intro on the lone song written by Muddy, the
slow, swampy blues "You Can't Lose What You Ain't
Never Had." This is one that the blues guitar fans
Closing out Son Of The Seventh Son is a
mid-tempo blues shuffle, "Blues In My Shoes," which
gives everyone in the band one more chance to shine
I passed up an opportunity to see Morganfield live
last year because of a scheduling conflict --- I
guarantee that won't happen again when I'm given the
next opportunity. For now, I'll be content with
listening to this album over and over. It's already
a candidate for best blues CD of 2012. Highly
--- Bill Mitchell