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Big Bill Morganfield knows he has a burden to bear. As the son of blues icon McKinley Morganfield--aka Muddy Waters--people naturally want to know if he can live up to the name.

The younger Morganfield tries not to dwell on the pressures, though, and instead takes Muddy's legacy as a starting point for his own personal style of blues. Hardly a foregone conclusion that Big Bill would follow his father into the blues landscape, it wasn't until several years after Muddy's death in 1983 that Bill picked up a guitar. A 1989 appearance with the legendary Lonnie Mack in 1989 sealed the deal. He continued to refine his craft while earning a bachelor's degree in English and performed at select venues in the States and in Europe. In 1999 he felt ready to record his debut album and cut a disc of blues classics and originals aptly titled "Rising Son" for Blind Pig Records. Producing was longtime Muddy Waters guitarist Bob "Steady Rollin'" Margolin with several other members of the Waters band sitting in. The result was a set that not only recalled Morganfield's serious roots, but pointed to a future as an artist in his own right. Morganfield and company make a stop at the Berkeley Cafe on Friday, August 18, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 821-0777. --Chuck Waters

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