Nineteen Years Old is a no-frills
album highlighting Big Bill Morganfield’s vocal ability. Although released
after Rising Son, Morganfield’s Blind Pig Records debut, this
recording — a tribute to his father, the legendary McKinley Morganfield
(better known as Muddy Waters) — actually predates it. Here Big Bill
delivers sounds ranging from the traditional Delta blues to the heavy
Chicago style pioneered by his dad, and his vocals range from gurgling
growls to charming pleas for love and understanding.
Nineteen Years Old opens
with a superb rendition of Muddy’s "Rock Me," a straight-ahead
heavy electrified blues. Big Bill’s delivery of the title track is one
of the album’s highlights, set against the shivering guitar sounds that
Muddy popularized, and he shows off his compositional strength via the
delightful stroll of a jazzy "I’m a Fool." He then swaps back
and forth between Muddy Waters tributes and Big Bill originals, throwing
in a brilliant rendition of the Bobby Charles song "Why Do People
Act Like That" that features more of an R&B feel.
Morganfield has selected an all-star
cast to work with him on this recording, including former Muddy Waters
Band member Bob Margolin (guitar), Blind Mississippi Morris (harmonica),
Robert Nighthawk II (piano and harmonica), Billy Earl McClelland (guitar),
Aram Doroff (bass), Al Gamble (harmonica) and Darin James (drums).
Nineteen Years Old is essential
listening, and it could even be taken as evidence that there may well
be a genetic predisposition to sing and play great authentic blues.
— Ben Hulette