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“Where Were You?” – Muddy Waters at Bogart’s, in Cincinnati, Ohio [December 17th, 1977]

Time to fulfill a long-standing request from one of those in the party with whom I made the trip to Cincinnati with, to see this performance, in the winter of ’77. I had already moved back to Louisville at this point in time, and I would frequently make the trip back to Lexington to visit with my university pals, and take in some key shows that would come to the area. We had bonded so much over music, that it was a very good excuse to keep in touch, and catch up, back in the days before the arrival of the Internet. As I recall, we attended the Saturday night show, since I would not have made it in time to make the drive from Louisville to Lexington, and then on to Cincinnati, after my work shift on a Friday.

This was the second time that year, that I would have the opportunity to see another giant of the blues, having seen John Lee Hooker, earlier in July “Where Were You?” – John Lee Hooker at The Great Midwestern Music Hall, in Louisville, Kentucky [July 5th, 1977]. Having purchased Muddy Waters’Hard Again” album, earlier in the year, had deepened my interest in – initially – the electric blues, and its different adherents. There were several albums in my collection, from the different British performers, who had covered songs by both John Lee Hooker & Muddy Waters, but upon this album’s release, I was very intrigued by Johnny Winter‘s involvement, having already seen him on a couple of occasions, and immediately purchased the “Hard Again” album, and loved it – upon first listen. So, it did not take much to get me interested in seeing this performance, and like several occasions over the course of a couple of years earlier, several friends were also interested in making the trek to the “tried and true” venue of Bogart’s.

A very strong year for new albums, and Muddy Waters “Hard Again is right there, along with a few new names that would carve out their own solid reputations, within a few years’ time. This release would signal a well-deserved revival of interest in his career.

It was still very early on, in my attempts to photograph live shows, and had only done so, in such clubs, a few times before, so the learning curve was quite a steep one for me to climb, at this point in time. From the start, I made up my mind to attempt to get official permission to get access and photograph the performers, whenever it was possible. As I had to leave late, after finishing my overtime shift at work on Saturday, and then make the 90 minute drive to Lexington; get together with my friends, and then make another 90 minute drive to Cincy, we arrived very shortly after the doors to the club had been opened to those patrons inside the restaurant, who had their tickets checked already (Bogart’s unique policy). So, a quick order to get a bite to eat in the restaurant, and then try to find a place to see the show from, based on what available seats were left inside the club, was made. This meant that seats close to the stage were impossible, but as I was eating, we happened to notice that Muddy Waters, and his entourage/band members, were still seated at their dining table, nearby. I worked up my nerve, and slowly made my way to the tableside, and catching a lapse in the conversation, I meekly asked, “Mr. Morganfield, I was wondering if would be okay with you if I take some photos during your set tonight?” He responded in that booming voice of his, “Young man! You take all the pictures you want!..” A quick and happy “Thank you!!” was my reply, and I quickly made my move to get back to the matter at hand, and my friends and I went along to find some seats inside the club. As you can see from the results, I had to shoot from amongst the audience, and had to use my Komuranon telephoto zoom lens (and flash, unfortunately), with mixed results. I learned two valuable lessons from this experience: It was possible to get permission (at times), and I vowed to myself that I had to make the extra effort to get to shows as early as possible: in order to try to obtain that permission – if not beforehand, through traditional methodsand, in order to get a spot as close to the stage to photograph from, as was possible!

Bob Margolin and Muddy Waters, standing and playing, early in the set, before Mr. Morganfield took a seat for the remainder of the show.

The only clear shot of Pinetop Perkins‘ face that I managed to capture, sitting behind the piano, also early on, in the set

Muddy Waters in the foreground; Jerry Portnoy on harp, behind

Jerry Portnoy blowing on harp & Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson on guitar

Bob Margolin on guitar, and perhaps the clearest image of Calvin “Fuzz” Jones that I captured. You can almost see Willie “Big Eyes” Smith on drums, in the background. Unfortunately, this was yet another occasion in which I could not get a clear photo of the drummer, at the back, behind others, or equipment…..

One of the few unblocked shots I managed all night; this one, of Bob Margolin

Muddy Waters, Jerry Portnoy & Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson


This post is dedicated to John & his wife Lynn, thanks to their confirming the date of the show for me (as ticket stubs to all of my shows were “lost” in a move, about 25 years ago). Turns out, this was their second date! Fortunate to have seen & heard these musicians that night. The amount of music history on that stage is incredible to think about, when you get right down to it.


Links for further reading:

Muddy WatersWikipedia entry:

Bob Margolin official website:

Jerry Portnoy official website:

Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson Wikipedia entry:

Calvin “Fuzz” Jones Wikipedia entry:

Willie “Big Eyes” Smith Wikipedia entry:

Pinetop Perkins Wikipedia entry:

A “shout out” to Blues enthusiast, musician and promoter of all things “Blues“, Bob CorritoreWikipedia:

Search results on YouTube, for Muddy Waters live (footage & music):


As always, constructive criticism, and thoughtful comments are welcome, and thanks, in advance, for visiting my blog/pages. Check the links at the top of this page, for further information, and photos from my archives.