When you listen to the 1950 Chess Recordings version of Muddy Waters singing "Rollin' 'n Tumblin'" you are immediately struck by that fuzzy electric guitar licks overlaid on the that 30's era drum skiff. Muddy's voice is a man of experience. You can imagine that he actually did have to sleep in a hollow log at one point in his life. It's his song, his experience. So when a bunch of modern era white guys cover the song, the worst thing they could do is try to cover it just like Muddy Waters did. That's not their song that's not their experience. The trick to to take the song an make it your own. Which is exactly what the North Mississippi Allstars do with their cover of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' 'n Tumblin'" on their album, World Boogie.
The video starts out with an old timey acoustic piano riff, to make the point of just how off the wall these guys have gone with the song. It's done up like some psychodelic experience. As far as I can tell, they have not changed a syllable of the lyrics. But this time you can't help wonder of there weren't some peculiar mushrooms growing in that hollow log. The bass drum beat is like the pounding in your head after a night of too much somethin'. I love the lo-fi screaming into the guitar pickup. And of course, there's that amazing the bass that takes up the duties of carrying the melody, such as it is.
The visuals ring true, especially the parts that show the band ignoring the No Tresspassing signs and heading off into the deep woods, building a fire, and dancing around it all night long. There are a couple of quick shots that are priceless. Watch for the gently dancing grandma. Watch for the hound dog that can't figure out what's going on. Check out the trailer park, sort of our era's version of the hollow log, I'd say.
Luther Dickinson on is cigar box guitar: