Mud Morganfield, like his younger brother “Big Bill” Morganfield, has a huge musical legacy to live up to. His father was McKinley Morganfield, better known to the world as Muddy Waters.
And Mud Morganfield does live up to his father’s legacy on Son of the Seventh Son. He sounds a lot like Waters as he sings classic Chicago blues. He acknowledges his lineage proudly in the title song, “Son of the Seventh Son,” which has references to his father’s songs, including “Mannish Boy,” and his own composition, “Blues in My Shoes.” He also covers his father’s famous number, “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had.”
The other songs on the CD are all examples of traditional Chicago-style blues. The subjects are traditional, too, for the most part: sexy women in “Short Dress Woman” and “Love to Flirt,” sexual prowess in “Midnight Lover” and the sly, suggestive “Catfishin’.” The song “Health” adds a more contemporary spin, with its message that nothing else matters if you don’t take care of your health.
Morganfield himself wrote a number of these songs, including “Blues in My Shoes,” “Love to Flirt,” “Health,” “Midnight Lover” and “Leave Me Alone.” All of them are strong blues offerings. “Health” also features some excellent harp work by producer Bob Corritore. Harmonica Hinds on harp and Barrelhouse Chuck on piano particularly shine on “Catfishin’” as well.
Indeed, the band here is as fine as any band I’ve heard on a modern blues recording: Billy Flynn, Rick Kreher, Barrelhouse Chuck, E. G. McDaniel, Kenny Smith, and Corritore keep things cooking throughout the entire CD. And it is a pleasure to note that the drummer, affectionately known as Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, is the son of Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Mud’s father’s longtime drummer, so even more family tradition is being carried on here.
Add that to the 57-year-old Morganfield’s mature and richly evocative vocals and you have some of the best Chicago blues I’ve heard in years. I highly recommend Son of a Seventh Son to any lover of the blues. Muddy would not be disappointed in how his legacy is being carried on.