Muddy Waters’ 1971 retrospective album A.K.A. McKinley Morganfield caused some confusion during its initial release. The album’s original title was A.K.A. Muddy Waters, but the final printing featured the Chicago blues legend’s birth name in a larger typeface than his stage moniker, leading it to frequently be mis-shelved in record stores, much to the chagrin of his fans.
Title confusion aside, A.K.A McKinley Morganfield remained in high demand among blues enthusiasts during its release. At the time it was the most complete and paramount collection of Waters’ material from 1948 to 1960, his works that directly inspired the British blues explosion of the 1960s. His evolution and development from a traditional Delta blues sound to the refined full band sound that came to define him can be heard throughout the album’s 24 tracks.
From early versions of Muddy Waters signature songs such as “Rollin’ and Tumblin'”, “I’m Ready”, and “Got My Mojo Working”, to covers of standards by the likes of Willie Dixon and Robert Johnson, Chess Records left no stone unturned in assembling A.K.A. McKinley Morganfield. The end result was a potent collection of Waters’ finest early material, which up to that point had only seen release as scattered singles, and a perfect profile of the first half of the career of blues royalty.