Rock Around The World October 1977   31


by Gary Jackson

The cover of Muddy Waters’ new album, Hard Again depicts a confident man, ready to give it a go again, but with a vengence. We all know that you got to pay a lot of dues in order to get over, and such was the case with Muddy Waters. Except that this time, he had already had his reputation firmly planted in the music scene, but for the last say, seven to ten years and even going back further, Muddy had the misfortune of being with a record company that, for the sake of being courteous, did not put their all into the promotion of a man that, literally, kept that record company floating above “water.” Muddy Waters signed with Blue Sky Records in 1976 and released Hard Again which has received enormous critical raves from all corners of the music world. I had a chance to converse with Muddy one afternoon during his recent triumphant gig at the Roxy in Los Angeles where he brought the house down with an array of his old songs sung and played with more conviction and force that hadn’t been heard in quite some time.

Muddy gives tons of credit to Johnny Winter and James Cotton for helping to shoot some new blood into his music which was understandably a bit worn after all the hassles he had run into with Chess Records. The lack of promotion made Muddy feel as if he had been beating his head against the wall in a fruitless effort to bring back a revival of the Blues.

He is now extremely happy to have signed with CBS Productions and is looking to spearhead a full scale assault in bringing the blues back to the prominence it enjoyed during the middle to late sixties. One thing that Muddy says is crucial to the sustainment of the blues is to get more and more commitments from the old bluesmen and a strong response from the younger black generation whom he feels is more into the blues but not quite deep enough. I, myself, was a bit disappointed at the relatively small number of blacks present at the Roxy. It was blacks that

gave Muddy Waters and others their start, but now they need much more support to kick them over the top, and though this may sound a bit trite, the blues is much more of our roots than any disco album will ever be. But back to the conversation … Muddy says that the tour is going over extremely well and it will take him to the Pacific Northwest, the South and then he will play Montreux .during the jazz festival in the summer.

When asked what consisted of his day while on tour, Muddy stated that bascially he’ll watch television, play cards, or track down a real down home restaurant. He did let out that hot dog stands are still his favorite hangouts.

Muddy still lives in Chicago in a suburb called Westmount. He’s planning on resting after Montreux and then will enter the studio again during October to record another album with expectations on a January release.

Hard Again is by far his largest selling album with sales easily expected to go well over 100,000. Although by today’s standards, 100,000 in sales isn’t much, Muddy relates that he’s not looking to get rich, that he’s comfortable doing what he’s doing. He’s got his own publishing company, and one of his biggest desires is to be nominated and then entered into the Music Hall of Fame along with Chuck Berry.

After all is said and done, Muddy Waters has had as much, if not more,

of an impact on the music scene as Chuck Berry. Witness the Allman Brothers, Steve Winwood, the Rolling Stones, who incidentally will be recording “Mannish Boy” on a forthcoming live album. All of these entities readily admit to Muddy Waters as a major influence on their music.

The man is a monster in stature and deserves to grow even bigger, and he will, cause if he is “Hard Again,” then I’m pretty sure that he’s gonna stay that way for some time to come.


be a little more energetic. “We’re much more of a group now, and it’ll sound a lot more like the band does onstage, and I don’t mean a ‘live’ album, either. Right now we’re playing live quite a bit, so it’s bound to have more energy. It’ll be a rock and roll album, of course, and it won’t be no southern boogie (neither was the first). We did the last one very quickly, and we probably won’t do the second one so hurriedly. It’ll be more into the .sound, like playing the studio like a guitar—on the last record the sound was just sort of incidental

and I’m just staying on the road (most   to everything else. The next one will

recently, opening five dates for Be Bop)   probably be a little more produced, but

until it’s right. I don’t want to go on about   not in any slick sense. But it’s hard to talk

this, because it’s boring, but it’s been a   about an album that isn’t an album until

huge number ‘and I really feel all sides are   we’re in the studio doing it.”

being reasonable and it should be settled   Will the writing and arranging be done soon. Eight shots out of ten, the album will in the studio again? “Yeah, we wouldn’t

commence within a matter of weeks.”   do that until we came into the studio,

What about the tracks recorded just   because we want that freshness. If you

before leaving for Europe? “We did some   work it out too much, then it’s a little

tracks, and I liked them a lot, but they   dangerous. I only know that there are

were done when I was real sick. And then   about six tunes (including ‘Surrender,’ we went to England and we started playing ‘Listen To Her Heart,’ and ‘I Need To

the tunes entirely differently. So we   Know’) that we’ll try to have on the

decided not to use those tracks.”   album, but we usually write more in the

Petty says the next ip will probably be   course of the album. The last one –by

12 songs as opposed to ten, and that it’ll   the time we got ten tunes, they were all

nice, but it didn’t run cohesively, so I was having to write more and more and fit things in so it sounds like an album instead of just ten nice tunes. The second one will probably be like that again,”

Is writing at will a natural or acquired talent? “I guess I developed that—I had to eat,” Petty laughed, dead serious. “I don’t know how good 1 am at it anymore—I did it then, and I think I could still do it again if I have to. I hope I don’t have to this time as much, because it’s just so frenzied to write a song in two hours and cut it the next. But there is no formula to it—we just have sort of a little way we work that just occurred naturally. How we arrange is relative, of course, to the song–how we can get the most out of it. That’s really the band’s trip—like everyone has the same amount of contribution to a tune, and everyone gets paid the same. I just write the most and sing lead. I might play them a song on piano or acoustic guitar, and maybe as a ballad, and by the time everyone adds their contributions, it’s a high-speed rocker. And it can go the other way, too. That’s why the studio is the best place for us–this band is very good with arangements, and it moves very fast once it starts moving.”‘”

S & T continued from page 27

“Cryin’ Like A Child” … it’s this story that starts in Nevada, and these two lovers run off … kind of a real dark, Steely-ish Dan sort of thing .

JT: Steely-ish Dan??

ES: Well, it’s better than Steely Danish . that sounds like a prune danish .

DR: Having worked together for so long, writing must come pretty easily to you .. JT: That’s one thing we have to our advantage … a lot of acts have to come off the road to write material, then go in to record for a couple of months . Ed and I have our second album in the can, plus about 50 other tunes , yet we’re always having ideas and writing … so we can tour now, which is important—to become a proven concert attraction.

Thus ends (or begins, as the case may be) a success story that is an inspiration to every aspiring musician … the years of scuffling have finally paid off for Ed Sanford and John Townsend, who’ve progressively built a fire which will continue to smolder with the care and attention that built it.

TOM PETTY continued from page 11

We were supposed to forget about not being able to get $20 over the phone to pay the hotel bill, because now that we’re a success, everything’s changed.”

And indeed it has, because until his label deal is restructured to prevent that from happening again, there won’t be a next album. “We didn’t forget about it. When we got back, we said we weren’t going to make any more records until the whole thing is restructured the way it should be. It’s not an uncommon thing,