McKinley Morganfield

… was born 102 years ago today. We know him as Muddy Waters.

And how important was Muddy Waters to early Rock?

You’ve heard of The Rolling Stones, and “Like a Rolling Stone,” and Rolling Stone magazine. All named for Waters’ early hit, “Rollin’ Stone.”

Muddy Waters transformed the soul of the rural South into the sound of the city, electrifying the blues at a pivotal point in the early postwar period. His recorded legacy, particularly the wealth of sides he cut in the Fifties, is one of the great musical treasures of this century. Aside from Robert Johnson, no single figure is more important in the history and development of the blues than Waters. The real question as regards his lasting impact on popular music isn’t “Who did he influence?” but – as Goldmine magazine asked in 2001 – “Who didn’t he influence?”

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Best Lyric of the Day

God may forgive you, but I won’t
Yes, Jesus loves you, but I don’t
They don’t have to live with you, neither do I
You say that you’re born again, well so am I
God may forgive you, but I won’t
I won’t even try

“God May Forgive You (But I Won’t)”
Sung by Rosie Flores (Iris DeMent has a great version, too).
Words and music by Harlan Howard and Bobby Braddock.

Christmas Music

On iTunes I have 476 tracks identified as Christmas music. I’ve created a playlist with them that automatically drops a track off after it’s been played. At this writing I have all 476 left to hear this year.

The types of music vary widely from Classical to Country, Jazz and New Age, but include of course the usual standards of which I suppose Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is the archetype. (Of the 476 tracks, 12 are in fact versions of “White Christmas” including two copies of Bing.)

I have a lot of favorites. I grew up in Catholic schools, so am nostalgic when I hear the carols, and have several albums of guitar covers by artists like John Fahey and Eric Williams. I particularly like Christmas in Santa Fe by Ruben Romero & Robert Notkoff, Winter Dreams by R. Carlos Nakai & William Eaton and Navidad Cubana by Cuba L.A. — it gets you dancing around the old árbol de Navidad.

And no collection is complete without Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas.

But when it comes down to it, this may be my favorite. It’s an OK video but the point is to enjoy Clyde McPhatter tenor and Bill Pinkney’s bass.

Updated and reposted from years past.

In Any Civilized Nation Today Would Be a Holiday

Two country music immortals were born on September 8th.

Jimmie Rodgers, considered the “Father of Country Music,” was born in Meridian, Mississippi, on September 8, 1897. He died from TB in 1933. Jimmie Rodgers was the first person inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

James Charles Rodgers, known professionally as the Singing Brakeman and America’s Blue Yodeler, was the first performer inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was honored as the Father of Country Music, “the man who started it all.” From many diverse elements—the traditional melodies and folk music of his southern upbringing, early jazz, stage show yodeling, the work chants of railroad section crews and, most importantly, African-American blues—Rodgers evolved a lasting musical style which made him immensely popular in his own time and a major influence on generations of country artists.

Blue Yodel No. 9

Patsy Cline, the most popular female country singer in recording history, was born in Winchester, Virginia, on September 8, 1932. She died in a plane crash in 1963. Patsy Cline is an inductee of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Cline is invariably invoked as a standard for female vocalists, and she has inspired scores of singers including k. d. lang, Loretta Lynn, Linda Ronstadt, Trisha Yearwood, and Wynonna Judd. Her brief career produced the #1 jukebox hit of all time, “Crazy” (written by Willie Nelson) and her unique, crying style and vocal impeccability have established her reputation as the quintessential torch singer.

Crazy