“Well, my mother told my father, just before I was born
I got a boy child comin’, gonna be a rollin’ stone,
Sure ‘nough he’s a rollin’ stone.”
From the song, “Rollin’ Stone” by Muddy Waters.
Many years ago, I bought a songbook called Folk Blues.
This 9″ x 11 & 3/4″ paperback volume – it did have a cover at one time – was published by ARC Music, Inc. in New York, NY and bears a copyright dated 1965 and 1969. In the foreword, Paul Ackerman, a music editor for Billboard magazine, wrote: “It is the intent of this collection of songs to illustrate the blues in their infinite variety.”
Most of the 103 songs in this collection were written by either Chuck Berry or Willie Dixon. Among the other songwriters represented are Lowell Fulson, John Lee Hooker, Ellas McDaniel and McKinley Morganfield.
McKinley Morganfield performed and recorded under the name Muddy Waters. (His grandmother nicknamed him “Muddy” when he was a child.)
(Ellas McDaniel is better known by his stage name: Bo Diddley.)
One of the four songs attributed to McKinley Morganfield in Folk Blues is “Rollin’ Stone.”
Muddy Waters recorded “Rollin’ Stone” in February, 1950 at the Chess Studios in Chicago, Illinois. That recording, featuring him singing and accompanying himself on an amplified acoustic guitar, became Muddy Waters’ first single released on the Chess Records label. (The B-side was Muddy’s version of Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues,” recorded at the same session.)
Check it out!
“Rollin’ Stone” was not a big seller for Muddy Waters. But in the 1960’s, the song became immortalized as the source of the name of a rather successful British – and at one time “The World’s Greatest” – Rock & Roll band; as well as the name of an American pop culture magazine that is now in its fifth decade of publication.
Depending on what you read, McKinley Morganfield/Muddy Waters was born on April 4, 1915 in Rolling Fork, Mississippi or on April 4, 1913 at Jug’s Corner, Issaquena County, Mississippi.
Either way, Muddy Waters’ music is, to me, ageless; a true example of the sixstr stories motto: “Good music doesn’t get old.”
If you would like to read more of my posts on Muddy Waters, scroll through the Archives for April 2014, April 2013 and August 2010. The April ones are “This Historic Day In Music…” pieces and the August one is called “It Was The Last Week In August.”