Muddy Waters is probably best known as the main influence on the Rolling Stones. The Blues legend inspired that British band more than any other when they were an unknown Rock ‘n’ Roll band trying to emulate the Blues and R’n’B sounds from the U.S.A.
The sound is not really so discernible in their later stuff, but their first album owes a great musical debt to the Blues, and especially Muddy Waters.
“Mannish Boy” is a sort of cover version of the Bo Diddley track, “I’m A Man”, which was released in the same year (1955) and features much of the same rhythm and lyrics. That, however, was derived in large part from the 1954 song that Willie Dixon wrote and Muddy Waters performed called “Hoochie Coochie Man”.
The song makes excellent use of the striking stop-time rhythm, which answers Waters’ singing in a chorus of harmonica and guitar chords.
The song has a great rolling feel to it, driven resolutely onward by the interplay between the stop-time rhythm and the main beat.
The track has been included in the Blues Hall Of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame 500 Songs That Shaped Rock And Roll, and Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.