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When I saw that Don wouldn’t be able to have a post this month for Our Blues Roots, I thought I’d help out a bit for this month
Want to first say that I appreciate the effort that Don puts into each of his posts, he is a true historian of this great music
I’m going to make a series of posts, each one will be of one song that other artists have done either as just a remake or as a tribute. Don & I agree in our thoughts of how essential it is to look back at the origins of our favorite music – the early blues were community activities that freed slaves and their children/grandchildren would play on a regular basis at home, in the fields as they were working or in juke joints. Friends would learn the songs and make their own spin on them – the result was songs with similar lyrics under a plethora of different names.
My reasoning in making these posts is that while important to revere the players of today and their releases, look where those songs came from, how they were changed to be “owned’ by another player in their execution and most importantly – don’t be afraid to stretch your creativity and come up with your own version.
I want to start out with Muddy Waters’ song Catfish Blues. Many people has done versions of this song, if you search You Tube and listen to the various videos of Muddy Waters doing this song live, I don’t think that he ever did it the same twice. Many lessons exist on You Tube for this song and Brian’s lesson EP058 is based on the song as well
Some might conclude that Muddy wrote this song but as you listen thru the examples below, you will find recorded versions that precede his release of the the song
The most famous version outside of Muddy’s would be Jimi Hendrix’ version, which is the 2nd video in my list.
Being a die hard Duane Allman fan, Duane played on Johnny Jenkins Ton Ton Macote album when he was a sessions player at Muscle Shoals.
3rd video is Johnny Winter that was close friends with Muddy and produced some of Muddy’s albums.
Probably the most unique version is by Taj Mahal, who employed somewhat of a Middle Eastern sound to it.
Don helped me out with this by providing some tunes that are very similar to Catfish Blues, probably from someone hearing the original and as I said, put their own spin on it
Two tunes similar in either the music/melody or the lyrics is Eddie Taylor’s – Stroll Out West and Willie Nix – Just Can’t Stay
Finally, Don provided me with a playlist of 131 videos of various artist and versions of this song
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