• doctorgus

The Harp: And Now, Finally, Muddy

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

And Now, Finally: Muddy


So Muddy, playing with his band for their usual dates at Smitty’s Corner blues club in the early 60s, noticed these white guys sneaking into the club to listen to him and the band. Everyone else in club was black. The story, probably apocryphal, goes that Muddy thought at first that here were some white workers from the local IRS, “They’ve come to get me” for the taxes he owed -- [[[[[Gordon, Can’t Be Satisfied, p. 165]]]] so he hid in the office. But in any case, on subsequent nights the three white guys returned and would prevail on Muddy to allow them to sit in with him on occasion, or maybe sneak up there while the band was on a break. And Muddy did, and he realized that these guys could play, especially the guy with the harp. “We were pretty much accepted because we loved the blues,” says Bishop, looking back. “And Butterfield always had a little bit of a scary appearance about him. It sort of kept people from wanting to fuck with him."


But when Butterfield plays the flattened 3rd, 5th, and 7th during the I chord, there is simply nothing like it.

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