Sunday, 22 February 2009

Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters

by Robert Gordon

The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album was on the streets three months after it was recorded, and Muddy hit the road. In New York City, he played a week at the Bottom Line. Bob Dylan, who as emerging from retreat, showed up several nights in a row, bringing a drunken Phil Ochs (a folksinger not long from suicide) and 1920s blues singer Victoria Spivey -- who made everyone address her as Queen Victoria. She wore a flowing white gown decorate with snakes, and Muddy kept asking her to take it off; the snakes gave him the heebie-jeebies.

"Dylan came into our tiny dressing room with a group of musicians who were soon to become his Rolling Thunder Revue," said Margolin. "Muddy could tell he was someone important because of the intense excitement. It was arranged for Bob to sit in." Muddy, more acquainted with the gangster than the pop star, the gun than the poet, got the name mixed up. "Muddy announced to the audience, 'We have a special guest on harmonica, please give a nice round of 'acclause' (that's how Muddy pronounced applause, and no one ever corrected him) for . . . JOHN DYLAN.' A couple of people clapped politely, and most turned to their friends and asked, 'Who?' I leaned over and stage-whispered to Muddy, 'His name is Bob, like my name - Bob Dylan,' and Muddy repeated, 'Bob Dylan,' as though that's what he had said the first time. The audience went apeshit."

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