Playbill

The Muddy Waters run deep in this package show featuring the son and two former band members of the legendary Chicago guitarist/singer (real name: McKinley Morganfield). Performing a mixture of blues standards, Waters classics and the band's own original material, the Rolling Fork Revue promises to be a nostalgic affair, though not simply mired in the past. Waters's son, Big Bill Morganfield, did not pick up a guitar or sing blues until after his father's death in 1983. And while it would be unfair to compare him, or any other performing son, to such a high paternal standard, his debut, Rising Son (Blind Pig), remains an adequate, if uninspired, romp. Filled with standard blues runs and Morganfield's deep but unexpressive (and sometimes mumbled) vocals, it fails to leave much of an impression on its own.

Luckily he gets more than adequate help from two veterans of Waters's band from the '70s: 86-year-old Pinetop Perkins on piano and "Steady Rollin" Bob Margolin (who will also bring along his own backing trio) on guitar. Perkins, who replaced the great Otis Spann on the ivories for the Mud Man, is one of the last great elder statesmen of the blues. His boogie-woogie style and elegant, truthful vocals have come to the forefront since his '88 solo debut, After Hours. The idiosyncratic Margolin has released several critically acclaimed records of covers and his own wry originals (the latest was '97's Up and In). With a recently released tribute record and biography, the music and legacy of Muddy Waters seems ripe for re-examination. And on this tour Morganfield, Perkins and Margolin are more than ready to teach (or preach) the sonic seminar. (Bob Ruggiero)

The Rolling Fork Revue performs Friday, August 6, at Billy Blues, 6025 Richmond, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $40 (dinner included) and $25. Call (713)266-9294.

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