Muddy Waters’ son keeps the blues alive in the City

Mud Morganfield is back in town for the launch of Blues Kitchen Shoreditch – Alex Dymoke caught up with him

FINALLY the square mile finally has a place to exorcise those blues. Last night Mud Morganfield was on hand to mark the opening of the Blues Kitchen Shoreditch, a new restaurant and music venue metres from the City. Here he talks to City A.M. about music, his father and the biggest regret of his life.

Tell us about your father...
It’s a typical story. My father wasn’t around that much. He was always running around trying to make money to support us. A mother can’t raise a man on her own – she can teach him how to treat a lady, but boys need that man figure. Pop was just too busy. When he came home he slept a couple of days and we knew to be quiet because he was the breadwinner and took care of stuff. He was a fantastic dad, though. He was always warm and he would play with me and ask me how I was doing – he was a great dad, he just wasn’t around that much.

Did he teach you how to play music?
He didn’t have to – it was just embedded in me, passed down through his bloodline. It came natural. I’ve had the blues all my life: I might have been in my mother’s stomach tapping on it, making beats. Ever since I can remember, I have always tapped on stuff. I used to beat on little oatmeal boxes with little sticks. I thank God that I’ve always had that in my blood.

What is the appeal of blues music?
Personally I like a good story and I like it even better when the story holds a bit of truth. Thats what blues is, it’s an emotion, it’s a story and it’s the hand that life sometimes deals us. How can you sing about the blues if you’ve never had any? How can you tell me how to stop drinking if you’ve never drunk? You can’t come up and do some blues if you’re filthy rich and you’ve never hurt or had a broken heart.

You started after your dad died...
I was a professional truckdriver. I drove the big rigs but the blues kept calling me. As a kid I used to play drums. I’ve had a few bands but I was never able to make a living doing that. I kept on singing to myself and for family members and the blues kept calling me – then I got an opportunity to play the Chicago Blues Festival. The people loved me, I put out an album and the rest is history.

It’s probably one of the saddest things that I know, but it’s good because I have faith and I’m a god fearing man and I believe that my dad somehow, in some way, is able to know that his legacy is living through me.

Blues Kitchen Shoreditch, 134-146 Curton Road
020 7729 7216