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Songwriter September

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Watch the 1955 Muddy Boogie online guitar lesson by Jimmy Vivino from Jimmy's Blues House: Boogie Down

The Fifties and Muddy Waters

McKinley "Muddy Waters" Morganfield (1913-83) is rightly acknowledged as the link between prewar acoustic Delta blues and postwar electric Chicago blues. Not as well known, however, he may also be seen as a link between the landmark boogies of John Lee Hooker and Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith and Chicago blues. "Muddy Jumps One", a rare instrumental also from that milestone "boogie year" of 1948 with Muddy backed only by upright bassist Big Crawford, employs walking boogie bass lines on the guitar tantalizingly similar to "Rocket 88". The latter number, arguably cited as the "first rock 'n' roll record" and produced by Ike Turner, is noted for the raw, distorted bass string guitar tone of Willie Kizart which fills the lower frequencies. In addition, Muddy's "She's So Pretty" (1954) uses the propulsive walking boogie bass lines heard in both "Muddy Jumps One" and "Rocket 88".

Guitar Slim

Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones (1926-59) was a deeply emotional blues guitarist who squeezed expressively abrasive notes from his @ 1953 Gold Top Les Paul. Equally important to his fame in the 1950s, he was a spectacular performer given to dying his hair various colors like blue and red and strolling out into the audience via an exceptionally long guitar cable. When playing with his buddy Johnny "Guitar" Watson, they would often take turns riding on each others shoulders.

Jones was also a boogie man. "(They call me) Guitar Slim" (1954, "Quicksand" (1955) and various takes of "Guitar Slim Boogie" (1957) reveal limber walking boogie lines, usually in the intros to set the groove.

Jump Blues and Rockabilly

The 1950s are generally referred to as the "jump blues" era of boogie-based shuffles, though the "roots" took hold in the 1940s. Most prominently, T-Bone Walker stands out with "T-Bone Boogie" (1945), "T-Bone Jumps Again" (1947) and "T-Bone Shuffle" (1947), among others. Laying the foundation for many of his eventual standards was unsung boogie woogie piano hero Freddie Slack.

In the "pop" music world, rockabilly cat Carl Perkins boogied up "Blue Suede Shoes" (1956) and "Matchbox" (1957) based on the Blind Lemon Jefferson prewar classic "Matchbox Blues". Rock 'n' roll spawned countless boogie-powered hits like "Long Tall Sally" (1956), "Lucille" (1957), "Keep a-Knockin'" (1957), "Good Golly Miss Molly" (1958) and other heavy weight recordings from Little Richard.

During the same time, outside the realm of Top 40 radio, Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm continued after "Rocket 88" to play jumping boogie woogie patterns, including on their blistering version of "Matchbox" (1958).

Howlin' Wolf

Muddy's friendly "rival," Chester "Howlin' Wolf" Burnett (1910-76), also contributed to the development of boogie blues in the 1950s. "Baby Ride with Me (Ridin' in the Moonlight)" (1951), "California Boogie" (1951) and "Come Back Home" (1952), to name just three, boogie, shuffle and swing thanks in large part to the extraordinary overdriven rhythm and lead playing of blues guitar legend Willie Johnson.

Chuck Berry

The "Father of Rock 'n' Roll Guitar" wanted to avoid "shuffles" (as he told this writer) and just play rock 'n' roll with a straight 4/4 beat. Nonetheless, his bedrock tunes like "Roll Over Beethoven" (1955) and "Johnny B. Goode"(1957) were rhythmically "in the crack" between a shuffle and eighth-note rock. In addition, "School Days" (1956), "Memphis, Tennessee" (1959), "Little Queenie" (1959, see T. Rex) and "No Particular Place to Go" (1963) are swinging boogie shuffles. (Note: Lonnie Mack's 12-bar instrumental version of "Memphis" from 1963 also swings the boogie).

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