Synopses & Reviews
Muddy Waters was barefoot when he got word a white man was looking for him. It was Sunday, the last day of August, 1941. The cotton had bloomed heavily and was set, the crop as it would be until picked in about a month. Muddy, like the other blacks who farmed a piece of someone else's land in Mississippi, was enjoying his lay-by. Soon, he'd be working that cotton from sun to sun.
Word reached Muddy before the white man did. "Uh-oh! This is it," Muddy remembered thinking. "They done found out I'm sellin' whiskey."
The white man was not a tax agent or the law. He was a young fellow named Alan Lomax, and his recordings of Muddythe first ever madewould launch the career of McKinley A. Morganfield, aka Muddy Waters, rocketing him from farmhand to musical legend.
As Robert Gordon brilliantly details in Can't Be Satisfied, Muddy Waters invented electric blues and created the template for the rock and roll band and its wild lifestyle. Gordon excavates Muddy's mysterious past and early career, taking us from Mississippi fields to postwar Chicago street corners. We meet the men and women who surrounded Muddy, riding shotgun with him as his style evolves. On the journey, we get a primer on blues, including an introduction to the other essential musicians who shaped this bedrock of modern culture. Gordon evokes the creative process and takes us in the studio and on the road with Muddy's band as they drive across the South, guns in their laps, whiskey and champagne on their breath, no streetlight in sight. From a tangle of midnight, smoke, sweat, and deep genius, Robert Gordon re-creates the skin and soul of this American giant.
The blues is feeling good about feeling bad. Gordon doesn't shy from the contradictions, he embraces them, garnering the same energy in storytelling that fueled Muddy's music making. There's never been a comprehensive biography of Muddy until now. And with Can't Be Satisfied, there will never be need for another.
"As much as for its scholarship, Cant Be Satisfied stands out as a great populist example of the form....Gordon reserves outlandish or overstated claims, preferring to let the story tell itself, rather than relying on glib pronouncements." Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper
"Gordon tells the tale with deeply researched hellaciousness...he nails the sound of men beating on the devil with guitars...grade A." Entertainment Weekly
"Likely to become the leading biography of this legendary artist, the book is recommended for all popular, blues, and ethnomusicology collections." Library Journal
"In this engaging biography, Gordon (It Came from Memphis) mines some new territory, but the real punch comes from his telling, which reads as if he were on the front porch with friends, passing a half-pint of whiskey." Publishers Weekly
The definitive, long-awaited biography of the man who invented modern blues, this book transports readers into the world of Muddy Waters, from the cotton fields of rural Mississippi to the music scene of Chicago. of photos.
The epic, rollicking, up-and-down life of Muddy Waters, who went from Mississippi farmhand to musical legend, who invented electric blues and created the template for the rock-and-roll band and its wild lifestyle, is brought into sharp focus in this widely acclaimed biography. photos.