Mannish Boy

Greatly Appreciated

“Mannish Boy”  (or “Manish Boy”) is a blues standard by Muddy Waters first recorded in 1955.  It is both an arrangement of and an “answer song” to Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man”, which was in turn inspired by Waters’ and Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man”.  In first release it was titled “Manish Boy”.  “Mannish Boy” features a repeating stop-time figure on one chord throughout the song and is credited to Waters, Mel London, and Bo Diddley.  (More from Wikipedia)

Rollin’ Stone by Muddy Waters is a bridge from the raw blues of Robert Johnson directly to rock and roll; while it is basically a straight blues song, there are startling changes in the beat and cadences over the course of Rollin’ Stone.  Within the blues world, it is a direct antecedent to Muddy Waters’ 1954 recording of the Willie Dixon song “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” (Steppenwolf included “Hoochie Coochie Man” on their 1968 debut album Steppenwolf, among numerous other covers by various rock musicians), Bo Diddley’s I’m a Man (1955), and Waters’ answer “Mannish Boy” (also in 1955).  I suppose that Bo and Muddy had a pretty good rivalry going back then, but on several occasions, I saw a performance of “I’m a Man” by Muddy Waters in later life on a series of films on TV called Living Legends of the Blues – that rendition even leaves the cover of I’m a Man by the Yardbirds in the dust.

(March 2014/1)
Last edited: March 22, 2021