Curt and Rod Presents – Blues Monday   3 comments

Muddy Waters

Mannish Boy

Mannish Boy” (or “Manish Boy“) is a blues standard by Muddy Waters first recorded in 1955. It is both an arrangement of and an “answer song” to Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man”, which was in turn inspired by Waters’ and Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man”. “Mannish Boy” features a repeating stop-time figure on one chord throughout the song and is credited to Waters, Mel London, and Bo Diddley.

The original version of “Mannish Boy” was recorded in Chicago on May 24, 1955, under the title “Manish Boy.” Accompanying Muddy Waters were Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Junior Wells on harmonica, Fred Below on drums, and an un-identified female chorus. The original version was the only recording done by Muddy Waters between January 1953 and June 1957 that did not feature Little Walter on harmonica and was one of few studio recordings with Junior Wells.

Muddy Waters recorded several versions of “Mannish Boy” during his career. In 1968, he recorded it for the Electric Mud album in Marshall Chess’ attempt to attract the rock market. After he left Chess, he recorded it for the 1977 Hard Again album which was produced by Johnny Winter. The song also was included on the live album Muddy “Mississippi” Waters – Live (1979). Waters also performed it at The Band’s farewell concert The Last Waltz which was shot on film.

 

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3 responses to “Curt and Rod Presents – Blues Monday

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  1. Good stuff, and perfect timing. If you haven’t checked out Joe Bonamassa, his new Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf tribute from Red Rocks dropped today:
    http://jbonamassa.com/albums/2015/red-rocks/red-rocks-free-song.php?id=homepage

  2. Al….how about some thoughts on the following….I’m gonna bring back my second cousin,
    That little Johnny Cocheroo.

    • John the Conqueror, also known as High John the Conqueror, John de Conquer, and many other folk variants, is a folk hero from African-American folklore. He is associated with a certain root, the John the Conqueror root, or John the Conqueroo, to which magical powers are ascribed in American folklore, especially among the hoodoo tradition of folk magic.
      John the Conqueror was an African prince who was sold as a slave in the Americas. Despite his enslavement, his spirit was never broken and he survived in folklore as a sort of a trickster figure, because of the tricks he played to evade his masters. Joel Chandler Harris’s Br’er Rabbit of the Uncle Remus stories is said to be patterned after High John the Conqueror. Zora Neale Hurston wrote of his adventures (“High John de Conquer”) in her collection of folklore, The Sanctified Church.

      In one traditional John the Conqueror story told by Virginia Hamilton, and probably based on “Jean, the Soldier, and Eulalie, the Devil’s Daughter”, John falls in love with the Devil’s daughter. The Devil sets John a number of impossible tasks: he must clear sixty acres (25 ha) of land in half a day, and then sow it with corn and reap it in the other half a day. The Devil’s daughter furnishes John with a magical axe and plow that get these impossible tasks done, but warns John that her father the Devil means to kill him even if he performs them. John and the Devil’s daughter steal the Devil’s own horses; the Devil pursues them, but they escape his clutches by shape-shifting.

      The root known as High John the Conqueror or John the Conqueror root is said to be the root of Ipomoea jalapa, also known as Ipomoea purga, an Ipomoea species related to the morning glory and the sweet potato. The plant is known in some areas as bindweed or jalap root. It has a pleasant, earthy odour, but it is a strong laxative if taken internally. It is not used for this purpose in folk magic; it is instead used as one of the parts of a mojo bag. It is typically used in sexual spells of various sorts and it is also considered lucky for gambling. It is likely that the root acquired its sexual magical reputation because, when dried, it resembles the testicles of a dark-skinned man. Because of this, when it is employed as an amulet, it is important that the root used be whole and unblemished. Dried pieces and chips of the root are used in formulating oils and washes that are used in other sorts of spells.

      Cecil Adams has written that John the Conqueror root is the root of St. John’s wort.[2] St. John’s wort root is thin and thread-like root, while John the Conqueror root is a tuber. John the Conqueror root is carried by the user, and the spell is cast by rubbing the root, which could not be done with a filamentous root.

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