Big Bill Morganfield
|Big Bill Morganfield|
Morganfield performing at Burnley Blues Festival, April 2006. Photo: Phil Wight
|Birth name||William Morganfield|
19 June 1956 |
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Genres||Blues, R&B, soul|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, teacher|
|Years active||1990 – present|
|Labels||Taxim, Blind Pig, Black Shuck|
|Fender Telecaster, Gibson ES-347|
Morganfield was born in Chicago, Illinois, but had little contact with his famous father, whose real name was McKinley Morganfield. Instead he was raised in Southern Florida by his grandmother, and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia. As a child he listened to his father's records, but also to more popular fare such as The Jackson Five. He came to music later in life, having first worked as a teacher after earning a bachelors degree in English from Tuskegee University and another in Communications from Auburn University. He did not begin playing music seriously until after his father's death in 1983, and then spent six years studying guitar. A well-received performance with Lonnie Mack at Atlanta's Center Stage convinced Morganfield that his career move was a good one, but dissatisfied with his craft, he returned to studying traditional blues forms and songwriting while continuing work as a teacher.
His first independent album was "Rising Son". and was released in 1999 by Blind Pig Records. Moreover, Rising Son, was released to popular and critical acclaim. Guitar Player magazine's reviewer expressed a belief that Morganfield's album would have brought a smile to his father's face. In 2000, he won the W.C. Handy Award for Best New Blues Artist. The title cut was featured in the 2004 film A Love Song for Bobby Long. (In 1997 Taxium Records released a demo-intended recording of Big Bill Morganfield called "Nineteen Years Old" without the consent of Big Bill Morganfield. American laws do not apply as this recording was taken to Germany for release.)
Morganfield recorded Rising Son in Chicago, the site of many of Waters' recording sessions. Bob Margolin, Waters' guitarist, served as producer and also appeared on the album. Featured were several of Waters' bandmates, including: drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, pianist Pinetop Perkins, and harmonica player Paul Oscher. Also in attendance was blues bassist Robert Stroger, an ex-member of Sunnyland Slim's band. In 1999 Morganfield appeared at the San Francisco Blues Festival.
Ramblin' Mind, Morganfield's next album, featured an appearance by Taj Mahal on two songs, which also featured Billy Branch on harmonica. Taj Mahal also contributed his original composition "Strong Man Holler" to the album. One of Waters' songs, "You're Gonna Miss Me," was also included. In 2009, Morganfield released the album Born Lover, produced by Bob Margolin and Brian Bisesi.
In concert, Morganfield performs his own material with an occasional number from his father's work. He also performed at a Kennedy Center Honors tribute to his father. During the 2000s (decade), Morganfield headlined many festivals and performed at venues around the world.
- 1997 - Nineteen Years Old
- 1999 - Rising Son
- 2001 - Ramblin' Mind
- 2003 - Blues in the Blood
- 2009 - Born Lover
- 2013 - Blues With a Mood