The nation’s white music fans yesterday expressed outrage and distress, heaping torrents of abuse on Muddy Waters and Chess Records for recording “crass” disco remakes of the erstwhile blues musician’s classic hits.
Released on Chess Records’ subsidiary Cadet Concept, After the Rain has alarmed white aficionados who claim Water’s blues stylings have all but vanished on the Lp only to be supplanted by heavily reverbed vocals, a metronomic four-on-the-floor beat, a backing chorus of female vocalists and disco’s distinctive hi-hat pattern with the open cymbals on the off-beat. Furthermore, strings, horns, and electric pianos have been employed to create a lush background padding wholly at odds with Water’s previous gritty urban blues sound.
“And where is Muddy’s slide guitar?” asked one caucasian critic rhetorically. “Replaced by synthesisers!”
Added another white, “What a slap in the face to all the white people who’ve made him what he is. It’s even worse than Howlin’ Wolf’s Jazz Fusion album.”
Producer Marshall Chess defended the decision for the singer born McKinley Morganfield to “go disco”, arguing the move would “broaden Muddy’s base and introduce him to a new generation of fans.”
“Anyway,” explained the Chess Records scion, “that old ‘mojo, ramblin’, hoochie-coochie’ blues thing is played out and tired.”
But at least one white blues purists was having none of that, saying, “I want to hear the blues, not ‘black’ music.”