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American Masters

Muddy Waters: Can't Be Satisfied (#1606)

This documentary traces the career of seminal bluesman Muddy Waters from his beginnings picking cotton to his death from cancer in 1983. His spirit and rough-hewn personality are revealed through frank interviews with his family, mistress and the last of his four wives. The intensity of Waters' music is evoked through rare film clips and early interviews with Waters himself, as well as intimate conversations with band mates and musical cohorts. Born McKinley Morganfield in rural Mississippi, Muddy Waters literally electrified the local blues sound, took it to Chicago and became the undisputed King of the Blues. His story is both iconic and idiosyncratic -- a fieldhand, a bootlegger and a sometimes musician, he personifies the 20th-century African American migration from the rural south to the urban north. Songs like "Hoochie Coochie Man," "I Just Wanna Make Love to You," "Still a Fool" and "Rolling Stone" speak for both a people and an era -- "Rolling Stone" inspired a band and a magazine. Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton, among others, kept Muddy in the popular pantheon, openly embracing the elements that Muddy exemplified -- an unflinching honesty and an insistence on deep emotion in music. [56 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

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Series Description: AMERICAN MASTERS is an ongoing series of award-winning primetime specials examining the lives, works, and creative processes of our most outstanding cultural artists. Created in 1984 by Susan Lacy and produced by Thirteen/WNET for national public television, the series is both a celebration and an exploration of creativity in America. Consisting of more than 250 hours of programming to date, AMERICAN MASTERS is a growing film library documenting the role important individuals, groups, and movements have played in the formation of our cultural identity.

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