"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blues Tuesday: Muddy Waters, "Rollin' Stone"

I really love Blues.  It's extraordinarily simple yet has a wide expressive range.  The form is clearly defined, and you have to be creative within it or especially virtuosic to engage the listener.  Muddy Waters is arguably the greatest.  All that's here in his classic "Rollin' Stone" is a guitar and Muddy's voice.  Amazing what he makes with it, especially the call and response between voice and guitar, and the range from bass to alto he squeezes out of the guitar nearly simultaneously. 


This song is also called "Catfish Blues" based on the first stanza.  Here's that first stanza.

Well, I wish I was a catfish,
swimmin in a oh, deep, blue sea
I would have all you good lookin women,
fishin, fishin after me
Sure 'nough, a-after me
Sure 'nough, a-after me
Oh 'nough, oh 'nough, sure 'nough

There's a sort of fatalistic sadness to the song.  The structure of the song is deceptively well crafted.  It starts with a wish, moves to a relationship that cannot blossom, roots his fate to his birth, as if he has no power to define himself, and we see the uprooted life sadly moving on at the end.  The guitar and voice just captures that melancholic feeling.

You can read the rest of the lyrics here, and the Wikipedia entry here.  The rock group The Rolling Stones took their name from this song. 


  1. The Blues do nothing for me, I'm sorry to say. Neither does jazz or country. Don't get the idea that I'm narrow-minded though...I love both rock AND Pachabel!

    Why can't I sign in with my name on this Google thing???? That's rhetorical, of course...

    1. Blues are really the root of rock. If you listen to enough blues you'll hear that they are not that much different. My favorite rock band is The Rolling Stones and their music is mostly just a variation on blues. That's how I got into blues, listening to The Stones. If you'll stop and listen every once in a while when I post a blues song, you'll hear it over time.

      LOL, on the Pachabel. I remember we had that discussion somewhere. I'll tell you waht. I'll post Pachabel one day. Thanks for stopping by.