Blues Music History
Muddy Waters (1913-1983) was born McKinley Morganfield and grew up to be one of the most important figures in the evolution of the blues. Muddy absorbed the Delta blues tradition as a young man and was working on the Stovall plantation in Mississippi when Alan Lomax came looking to record Robert Johnson for the Library of Congress in 1941. Johnson was dead by then, but Lomax was lucky to get Muddy Waters instead (on a tip from the great bluesman Son House, in fact).
Upon hearing his own recorded voice, Muddy determined to become a working musician, and after moving to Chicago in 1943, he far exceeded his own goal, coming to dominate the Chicago scene and the blues at large in the 1950s. Muddy reestablished the Delta influence in the Chicago sound and became the architect of the Chicago Delta style of electric blues. Additionally, Muddy Waters had a large role in popularizing the blues with white revival audiences in the 1960s.