Somewhere in the backroads of Issaquena County, Mississippi, along the banks of the Mississippi river, McKinley Morganfield was born. Likely due to his early life so close to the Mississippi river, McKinley later came to be known as Muddy Waters. The father of Chicago blues. The man most responsible for introducing the electric guitar into the genre. At one ponint in history, the terms “Electric blues” and “Chicago blues” were synonymous.
Talking about Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton once said, “His music changed my life, and whether you know it or not, and like it or not, it probably changed yours too.” The very roots of Rock-n-Roll itself traces directly back to the music of Muddy Waters. His influence is comparable to, nay even surpasses, that of say Charlier Parker or Dizzy Gillespie on Jazz. So wide is Muddy Waters’ influence that a long standing British combo and a well-known monthly magazine, as well as a Bob Dylan tribute, took their names from the title of one of his songs, “Rollin’ Stone.”
But I’m not going to talk about Muddy Waters’ music per se. Rather, Muddy Waters is known for another contribution to American culture. More than anyone else, Muddy Waters is responsible for the word “mojo” having made its way into our lexicon.
I say that with some care. His contribution derived not from his skill as a lyricist, but the strength of his performances. Nonetheless, the lyrics of many songs Waters’ made popular were suffused with references to African folk magic. The song “Hoochie Coochie Man,” written by Waters’ bassist, Willie Dixon, is typical:
I got the black cat bone, I got a mojo tooth
I got the John the Conqueror root, I’m gonna mess with you
Another classic is Preston Foster’s, “I’ve Got My Mojo Working,” which opens with the line, “I got my mojo working, but it just don’t work on you.”
So, back on March 29, 2005, Dave Winer was in some kind of Muddy Waters, mojo mood mostly involving Yahoo 360. Coincidentally, Betsy Aoki shared her Got Dot Net Blues with us, which prompted me to add this comment.
Fastfoward to a couple of weeks ago in a meeting where we’d invited Betsy to share some thoughts on running our Mac Office Team blog. We’d had a name for it, but hadn’t really settled on that name. During the course of the discussion with Betsy, however, she used the phrase, “Your Mac mojo,” in a rather off-handed, throw-away kind of fashion. The blog’s name itself wasn’t the topic of disussion, but, in one of those unpredictable, synergistic moments, the name stuck. So, we now have our Mac Mojo woikin’.
Did my comment have anything to do with Betsy’s use of the phrase “Mac mojo” during our meeting? I haven’t a clue. But, hey, I’m allowed a certain amount of room for dellusion over such things. Whatever the case, I hope everyone enjoys the new team blog. There are some pretty interestings posts in the queue.
Currently playing in iTunes: Hoochie Coochie Man by Eric Claption