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Muddy Waters
Born McKinley Morganfield (Rolling Fork, Mississippi), the most influential Chicago bluesman modernized the Mississippi Delta blues by adding an electric guitar, developing the now-ubiquitous ensemble-driven Chicago style, revolutionizing the music's sound. The son of a sharecropper, Waters played harmonica and sang at family gatherings, finally taking up the guitar as a teenager (folklorists Alan Lomax and John Work made field recordings of him during the early '40s while Waters was working on a southern plantation). Moved to Chicago during the '40s to find a better life (and to become a professional musician). There, he met Big Bill Broonzy and Sunnyland Slim, and begin recording what is almost a canon of modern blues: "Rollin' Stone," "I Can't Be Satisfied," "I Feel Like Going Home," "Got My Mojo Working," "Mannish Boy," and "Hoochie Coochie Man."

Musicians from Chuck Berry to Mick Jagger (whose band was named after a Water's record) were influenced by Waters, and large number of blues musicians -- many famous in their own right -- paid their dues in Waters' band: Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, Jimmy Rogers, James Cotton, Junior Wells, and A.C. Reed are among them. Heck, Led Zepplin's biggest hit ("Whole Lotta Love" is a reworking of a Willie Dixon-written Muddy Waters song.

His classic Chess Records album Electric Mud, Waters' best-selling album of the decade, has just been re-issued by MCA.

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