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Muddy Waters – Hard Again (1977)

July 15, 2020

Learning to be anti-racist

“Anti-racism is how we regain our humanity. It’s how we exist in community (small and large) that truly honors everyone. It allows us to understand and reckon with our past so we can build a just future for ourselves and repair the damage that has been done.”
– Tiffany Jewell

For years, I have been mistakenly under the impression that ‘racist’ and ‘not racist’ were opposites. I’ve since realized that ‘anti-racism’ is actually the opposite of ‘racism’ & I need to do a better job of being actively anti-racist.

As a starting point, I want to commit to doing two small things every week:

  1. Listen & Learn. Share resources that I’ve found helpful.
  2. Amplify Black Voices. Each Wednesday, feature a Black Artist from the 1001 list.

 

So far, I’ve looked at Curtis Mayfield’s There’s No Place Like America Today, The Crusaders’ Street Life, Cypress Hill’s Cypress Hill, Cee-Lo Green’s Cee-Lo Green…Is the Soul Machine, Maxwell’s Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s, Shaka Zulu.

This week, Muddy Waters & his 1977 album, Hard Again.

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[Album 785/1001]

“We could talk or not talk forever, and still find things to not talk about”
– Best in Show (Jennifer Coolidge’s character)

Now when Jennifer Coolidge delivered that line, it was both ridiculous & hilarious.

But while her character’s relationship in the film may not have been destined for longevity, I’d argue that when taken out of its initial context, it actually is a fitting description of a strong relationship.220px-Hard_Again_LP,_Muddy_Waters

If a couple is comfortable speaking openly with each other & they are equally comfortable with unspoken breaks in those conversations, that bodes well.

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Long-term relationships between performers and fans aren’t always smooth.

But I believe that if the audience is equally engaged when the singer is singing / not singing, there’s long-term potential.

With Muddy Waters, there often seems to be a nice back & forth in his music.

A call & answer between his phrase-opening vocal line and the phrase-ending guitar reply, where both the lyrics & the licks feel equally important.

When there’s that balance between his conversational lyric delivery and his guitar noodling responses, I’m all ears.

Or in other words, whether he’s talking, or not talking (and letting his guitar fill in the gaps), as long as it sounds like Hard Again, I could listen to Muddy talk / not talk forever!

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Helpful Resources

Tiffany Jewell is the author of This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 lessons on how to wake up, take action, and do the work.

Tiffany is also the co-founder of the #antiracistbookclub, a page I’ve found useful for learning about a lot of current literature.

From → 1970s

15 Comments
  1. I see Muddy Waters, I hit Love!

  2. You can’t go wrong with Muddy Waters or quotes from Best in Show!!

  3. Great stuff Geoff

  4. One of my all-time favs!

    First, Best in Show is fantastic.

    Second, The version of Mannish Boy one here is featured in Goodfellas. After hearing the song in the movie, I had to have the album.

    Third, not playing notes is one of Muddy’s best trademarks! Letting that riff breathe! AC/DC site Muddy as a direct influence on their music for this exact reason.

    • I love those music moments in movies – where both the film & song are enhanced by being together!

  5. Terrific electric album. Worth regular spins.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Fela Ransome-Kuti and The Africa ’70 with Ginger Baker – Live! (1971) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. Femi Kuti – Femi Kuti (1995) | 1001albumsin10years
  3. Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information (1974) | 1001albumsin10years
  4. Gang Starr – Step in the Arena (1991) | 1001albumsin10years
  5. Jurassic 5 – Power in Numbers (2002) | 1001albumsin10years

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