Some old festival music (with Muddy Waters videos)
Some old festival music
July 27, 2011
by Jim White
Even though I didn't make it, I was inspired by the Pittsburgh Blues Festival to look up some historic festival blues.
One of the most interesting clips I found was Muddy Waters at the Newport Jazz Festival of 1960. The jazz festival began in Newport, R.I., in 1954, and often incorporated music like this, which is just pure blues.
The Newport Folk Festival began in 1959, and for a while, blues artists could be found at both venues. I had the great pleasure of covering three folk fests from 1967-'69, and had a lot of fun watching blues and folk artists from Arlo Guthrie to Joan Baez to Janis Joplin to Muddy Waters to B.B. King. The 1960 fest was a critical one, though, with rowdy fans creating problems. Here's a brief description from Wikipedia:
In 1960 boisterous spectators created a major disturbance, and the National Guard was called to the scene. Word that the disturbances had meant the end of the festival, following the Sunday afternoon blues presentation headlined by Muddy Waters, reached poet Langston Hughes, who was in a meeting on the festival grounds. Hughes wrote an impromptu lyric, "Goodbye Newport Blues," that he brought to the Waters band onstage, announcing their likewise impromptu musical performance of the piece himself, before Waters pianist Otis Spann led the band and sang the Hughes poem.
Here are a few clips I found featuring Muddy at the top of his game