3rd July 1960: Rock’n’Roll was still a bawling infant, the Beatles known to but a few, the Stones two years away from rolling, the world very much still in black and white and, on this weekend, tense and uptight
A riot during Ray Charles’ Newport set the previous evening had brought out the National Guard and the next day’s performances were cancelled – then reinstated when the promoter trumpeted to the authorities that the event was being filmed to promote America’s culture around the world.
Muddy and his band played what must be one of the best Sunday afternoon festival sets ever. But then he had lent the band to John Lee Hooker (who’d arrived with just his guitar, not even in its case) for the latter’s lunchtime slot, so they were well limbered up.
I read a piece (wish I could refind it) where harp player James Cotton is quoted as saying Muddy was so furious about the band’s performance of one newer song in the set that he lambasted and fired them all straight after the gig. This apparently lasted four days until Cotton got a call from an only slightly repentant Muddy, telling him where to be for the next date.