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Mud Morganfield: That’s my boy

Mud Morganfield is not your average blues man. First-born son of McKinley Morganfield – better known as the King of Chicago Blues, Muddy Waters – Morganfield came into this world with riffs in his blood and some big shoes to fill. But it wasn’t until years after his father’s death in 1983 that he even began to consider filling them. Ahead of his appearance at Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival (16-19 March), Mud gives an insight into growing up with his father’s legacy, and his own relationship with the blues.

I came into this world with blues in my blood but it wasn’t until three years after Dad died in 1983 that I even began to consider performing as a career. There wasn’t no need for us kids to perform while he was still here, you know what I’m saying? Those are some big shoes to put my foot in.

I wanted to make my own way, do my own thing, so I ran from the blues a long time, you know? But it just kept on hunting me and hunting me. I kept hearing these music notes and sounds running through my ear. It was destiny.

I never got the chance to stand on stage with my father, even before I started performing professionally. If I ever went to see him play he would say to the audience, “Hey stand up, this is my son. Hello son.” You know? That kind of thing.

They used to call me ‘Little Mud’ but he always called me Poppa. I asked him, “Why you always call me that?” And he would say, “Because you look so much like me.”

When I stand on stage now I feel that he’s with me. I really can’t explain it, I just know that every time I hit the stage I have his approval and his blessings, that he’s somewhere just smiling and saying, “Hey, that’s my boy.”

Dad had a huge impact on the world. By keeping the raw emotion of the south and refining and electrifying the music that carried it, he changed everything. Without him there’d be no Rolling Stones, no Beatles, no Eric Clapton. The world would be a different place.

You see, the blues is the roots and everything else is the shoots. No matter how you go by it – rock, country, rap, whatever – you’re going to run into a brick wall that’s going to lead you right back to the blues. It’s not going to never die. It may be performed with another meaning or in another form but it will never die.

For those who didn’t get a chance to see my dad when he was alive, I hope that I can give them a kind of a glimpse into what it may have been like. It’s all from my heart, you know? It’s a gift from dad and god himself. That’s the only way I can explain how I look and sound so much like him.

I’m doing the same thing that he done and I’d like to thank probably the entire world for the love that they showed my dad that happened to just trickle down on me. I am overwhelmed and just blown away to be a son of Muddy Waters.

Mud Morganfield performs at Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival on Saturday 18 March at Colston Hall at 16:30. Tickets are £18 and £25.