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In celebration of Muddy Waters' birthday

In celebration of Muddy Waters' birthday, April 4, 1913 (not 1915 as once thought), I'm sharing a few documents and photos.

Here's his Social Security application from 1944 in Chicago:

In 1932 Muddy married Mabel Berry, whose brother Charles was a blues guitarist on the Stovall plantation. Both Muddy and Berry recorded for John W. Work III and Alan Lomax during the 1941-42 Library of Congress/Fisk University study. Muddy recalled that Robert Nighthawk played for his wedding reception. Here's the marriage record from the Coahoma County courthouse:

 

Muddy recorded a tune called Evan's [sic] Shuffle for Chess in Chicago in 1950. It was named in honor of popular WGES disc jockey, club owner and record dealer Sam Evans, we have read, but the name had another connotation at the time. Here is a flyer from 1950 for a coin-operated shuffle bowling game manufactured by H.C. Evans & Co. of Chicago:

 

Did you know that Muddy wrote album liner notes? I don’t know how much of this he actually said or wrote, but presumably he gave approval for it to be printed on the back of a 1967 album by the Sky Saxon Blues Band. Saxon had enjoyed some garage band success with The Seeds but not much came of his Blues Band, despite the hype on the back by Muddy and Joe X. Price (who equates Saxon's talent to Muddy's).

 

Amy van Singel and I interviewed Muddy for Living Blues magazine and Amy’s radio show, Atomic Mama’s Wang-Dang-Doodle Blues Show. See the Muddy Waters chapter in our book, The Voice of the Blues. After one of our visits with Muddy, we received this photo and letter from his manager, Scott Cameron:

 

When I lived in Clarksdale, I often took visitors to see the house where Muddy once lived on the Stovall plantation. In 1996 the House of Blues chain leased the house, disassembled it, moved it and reassembled it, and took it on tour. Eventually the house came back home and now occupies a wing of the Delta Blues Museum. On May 7, 1996, when a crew arrived at Stovall to disassemble and remove the house, I staged a symbolic protest. (I wasn’t actually chained to the wall!)

 

Later that year when the House of Blues was opening its Chicago branch, they contracted me to send them 50 pounds of dirt from Muddy’s yard at Stovall. I only invoiced them for 25, which was all I could fit into a Rubbermaid container. Anyone know where that sacred soil is now?

April 5, 2020: Scott Dirks from Chicago replies:

You mention sending a container of dirt from around Muddy's cabin to the people at the House Of Blues in Chicago, and asked if anyone knows where the dirt is now.

I played a private party (along with Jimmie Lee Robinson, SP Leary, and Mojo Mark) at the H.O.B. the night before they opened. The guy behind the whole H.O.B. concept, Isaac Tigrett, addressed the crowd at one point that evening and said he'd had this Delta dirt brought up to Chicago, and scattered it underneath the stages during construction for added 'mojo' or words to that effect.
-- Scott Dirks

Thanks, Scott, that's good to know. I and Isaac Tigrett were invited to talk to a "Blues as History and Literature" seminar for college teachers taught by Bill Ferris through a National Endowment for the Humanities grant at Ole Miss in 1987. Tigrett spoke about what a great concept he had for the House of Blues and told everyone in attendance (including Bill and me): "I will do more for the blues than everyone in this room put together." He also said he was the one who spray painted the "Clapton Is God" graffiti on a wall in London.
-- Jim

Welcome back to BluEsoterica.com

Last updated April 8, 2020.

 

Welcome back to the website world of BluEsoterica Archives & Productions, BluEsoterica.com Mail Order, Stackhouse Recording Company, Drop Top Music, and Jim O'Neal. This archival, production, consultation, research, publishing, media, and mail order enterprise is dedicated to the esoteric appreciation of the blues, as well as to buying, selling, and trading all sorts of records, with an eye for the obscure and unusual. You'll also find material here from my work with the Mississippi Blues Trail and Living Blues magazine -- for those official websites, go to msbluestrail.org and livingblues.com. BluEsoterica is the name of a column I started in Living Blues in 1994.

This website was inactive for several years as I lost, and finally regained, rights to the BluEsoterica domain name. I maintained a blog for a while in the interim, and web pages from 2005 to 2011 are archived there:

http://stackhouse-bluesoterica.blogspot.com.

Some of those pages will be reposted here.

Contents of www.bluesoterica.com will include:

*             The Casey Bill Weldon page, in tribute to "The Hawaiian Guitar Wizard," with information on the dedication ceremony for his headstone and updates to the "Unraveling Casey Bill Weldon" article in Living Blues 228.

*             The Memphis Minnie page, with additions to the 2014 edition of Paul & Beth Garon's book Woman With Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues -- material that didn't make it into either the foreword I wrote or the main text, including findings that have turned up since the book was published

•             The Voice of the Blues page: additions & corrections to The Voice of the Blues: Classic Interviews From Living Blues Magazine, including Muddy Waters' First Chicago Record and a 1969 Howlin' Wolf Interview.

*             Pages on Tampa Red, Otis Rush, Casey Bill Weldon, John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Charley Patton, Gabriel "The Flock-Rocker," Son House, and others as time permits

*             Information on the postwar Delta Blues book started by the late Mike Leadbitter, in the process of additions and revisions ever since

*             BluEsoterica columns from Living Blues and new BluEsoterica blogs

*             Previously unpublished blues interviews and photos

*             Label histories and discographies (currently in progress: Missouri, Kansas and Mississippi labels)

•             Mail Order Catalogue: Blues, R&B, Jazz, Rock, Folk, Country, Gospel & World LPs, CDs, 78s, 45s, posters, books and magazines. (Also see items for sale on eBay and discogs.com under seller ID Stackhouse232 and at gemm.com under Jim O'Neal - Stackhouse and Bluesoterica.)

•             Stackhouse Recording Company news and new CD releases, plus news on any prospects for releasing material from the Rooster Blues vaults

•             BluEsoterica Research Forum

*             Thanks -- to everyone who has contributed to this website in the past and to all those who offered moral and monetary support after I was diagnosed and treated (successfully, so far) for lymphoma in 2011. I will post photos from the benefit shows organized by Memphis Gold, Kenny Neal and John May.

HELP WANTED: INTERN/VOLUNTEER

I'm looking for someone who enjoys working with old vinyl to list records on the computer. I also need help with data entry, scanning, cataloguing, and filing to manage a multitude of papers and photos. There are many interview tapes that need to be digitized and transcribed; anyone with a good ear for Southern blues dialect who wants to assist, please get in touch. One day maybe I can get a grant or hook up with an institution to pay someone to do some of this archival work, but it's a volunteer job for now.

SITE SEARCH MISSPELLINGS: This is for those who've tried to search the web for BluEsoterica under various permutations of the name. If you've searched for Bluesoeteria, Bluesoteria, Bluesesoterica, Blusoterica, Bluesotarica, Blusotarica, Bluesotaria, Bluesotrca, Bluesotrica, Bluestrica, Blues Esoterica, Bluesesoterics, Blues Esoterics, Bluesamerica, Blueshistorica, Blueserotica, Blueshysteria, Bluesetcetera, Bluesadnauseam . . . you've found it! Likewise if you were looking for my seller ID on eBay and other sites, Stackhouse232.

Blog Posts

In celebration of Muddy Waters' birthday

In celebration of Muddy Waters' birthday, April 4, 1913 (not 1915 as once thought), I'm sharing a few documents and photos.

Here's his Social Security application from 1944 in Chicago:

In 1932 Muddy married Mabel Berry, whose brother Charles was a blues guitarist on the Stovall plantation.…

Read more

Welcome back to BluEsoterica.com

Last updated April 8, 2020.

 

Welcome back to the website world of BluEsoterica Archives & Productions, BluEsoterica.com Mail Order, Stackhouse Recording Company, Drop Top Music, and Jim O'Neal. This archival, production, consultation, research, publishing, media, and mail order enterprise is de…

Read more

CONTACT

BLUESOTERICA ARCHIVES & PRODUCTIONS

Jim O'Neal

3516 Holmes Street

Kansas City MO 64109

(816) 931-0383

Research e-mail: bluesoterica@aol.com or jim@bluesoterica.com

Mail order e-mail: Stackhouse232@aol.com 

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