Muddy Waters: He’s a Pepper, Too

From reading Robert Gordon’s excellent biography of Muddy Waters – Can’t Be Satisfied –  I learned that the former McKinley Morganfield once made a little pocket change recording a radio spot for Dr. Pepper:

Is it really true – as the YouTube video clip contributor asserts – that Randy Newman wrote this blues jingle?   Could it be that this very same radio ad can be found on a rare piece of promotional vinyl, Dr. Pepper: The Most Original Soft Drink Ever – Original Cast Album?

Dr. Pepper Cast LPaDr. Pepper Cast LPb

This Dr. Pepper album sold for $50 in a 2010 Ebay purchase and is described on Popsike (online archive of rare vinyl auction sales) as  “RARE Muddy Waters Randy Newman.”

Bob Margolin, Muddy’s guitarist throughout the 70s (and as seen in the classic Last Waltz performance), recalls the following details about the jingle’s recording:

“I have no idea who wrote it.  We weren’t told.  I do remember it was recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago and I played a bass line/ rhythm guitar part that you can hear clearly on the right side that led the band through very strange non-standard Blues changes.  Trying to get Muddy to sing the right words over it was not easy.  We did get it though, and I think Muddy’s belligerent voice singing those words is very…weird and funny.”

“Ooh Baby”/”Wrecking My Love Life”: Bo Diddley, Song Surgeon

In a re-match of three blues heavyweights – Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley (taking Little Walter’s place) – The Super Super Blues Band from 1968 on Chess is classic stuff.  A local radio blues show once played the album’s second track, which really tickled my ear, so I poked around a little and discovered that, sure enough – just like it says on the track listing – this song really is a fusion of two Bo Diddley songs:  “Ooh Baby” (from 1966) and “Wrecking My Love Life” (from 1967):

Album recorded in Chicago in September 1967 – issued January 26, 1968 on Checker.

  • Bo Diddley:  vocals, guitar
  • Howlin’ Wolf:  vocals, harmonica
  • Muddy Waters:  vocals, guitar
  • Otis Spann:  piano
  • Hubert Sumlin:  guitar
  • Buddy Guy:  bass
  • Clifton James:  drums
  • Cookie Vee:  vocals, tambourine

Bo Diddley, Cookie Vee & Dave Myers @ Montreaux 1972

       Cookie Vee, Bo Diddley & Dave Myers at Montreux, 1972