Fattening Frogs For Snakes

Natural From Our Hearts

for Michael Voelker & Bill Lynn

”Blues with a feeling
that’s what I have today Blues with a feeling
that’s what I have today I’m gonna find my baby
if it takes all night & day”
—Little Walter

Late in 1948
Muddy Waters
formed his first band
with Jimmy Rogers
of Ruleville, Mississippi
on second guitar

& Little Walter
of Marksville,
by way of New Orleans
& Helena, Arkansas,
on harmonica—

This holy trinity
came together in Chicago
& burned up the world together
until Little Walter left the band
in 1952. “We’d do a lot of rehearsin’
durin’ that time,”

Jimmy Rogers told Robert Palmer,
”The 3 of us. And Walter
wanted to learn. His ears were open,
but he just didn’t have nobody
to sit down & really teach him.
He was mostly playing

between Rice Miller &
that saxophone sound
of Louis Jordan;
after he came with us
we developed hom mostly
into a harder sound.”

And Muddy says,
”He was a good boy
but he had that bad,
mean temper,
that kind of thing, like
’You don't mess with

me too much.’ Then,
when we got it together,
I found out
I was the only somebody that could do anything with him
when he really got

out of hand. He began
acting like I was his daddy. And
when we was sitting
around the house playing together,
or on the bandstand,
that’s when he worked out

all that stuff
that he did on our records
later on, all them tricks
with harps & so on. He was a man
that was always
thinking of something. His mind

just kept going,
learning more & more & more.
But we was all into it. We all
wanted to work, & we learned how to play
up tight with one another.
We would rehearse

& rehearse. It was hard
work, man. Hard work. But we had
3 naturals—me,
Little Walter,
& Jimmy. Natural
from our hearts.”

— Detroit
March 22, 1982/
New Orleans
November 26, 1995