Boston native Bob Margolin was born in 1949. Inspired by Chuck Berry, he started playing guitar at age 15 and immediately started performing in local rock and blues bands. Margolin was hired by Muddy Waters in 1973.
Muddy’s band toured the world and jammed with many great blues and rock musicians, “but the biggest thrill was playing Muddy’s Blues with him.” Muddy brought Margolin with him to special shows and recordings, when he sometimes didn’t use his whole band, to give him a familiar sound when working with other musicians. In 1975, they recorded Grammy Award-winning “Muddy Waters Woodstock Album”, Muddy’s last for Chess Records, which featured Paul Butterfield, and Levon Helm and Garth Hudson from The Band. In ‘76, Muddy brought Margolin with him to San Francisco to perform at The Band’s “Last Waltz” concert. Martin Scorsese filmed the concert for the classic film. “As it happened, only one camera was operating during our performance, zooming in or out, and since I was standing right next to Muddy, I was in every shot while he sang a powerful ‘Mannish Boy.'” Margolin also played on the four albums that Muddy recorded for Blue Sky Records, which were produced by Johnny Winter, and with Johnny on his Nothin’ But The Blues album. Three of those albums won Grammy Awards.
Margolin left Muddy’s band in 1980 and formed his own band. He relocated to Washington, DC then Blacksburg, Virginia — eventually winding up North Carolina in 1989. “All through the ‘80s I ran up and down the highways, mostly in Virginia and North Carolina. I was able to make a living without the pressures of the music business, and didn’t even feel any need to release an album. I was playing most nights with total musical freedom and no commercial considerations.” Periodically during those years, Margolin played a few high profile gigs — He appeared at the 1984 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, joining The Fabulous Thunderbirds for a tribute to Muddy Waters (with Etta James singing, and Taj Mahal and James Cotton opening.) His own band opened shows for Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Thorogood, Johnny Winter, and The T-Birds.
In 2016, Bob won two Blues Blast Magazine Awards, one as Best Male Blues Artist, and one for Best Traditional Blues Album for his new album, “My Road.” In 2013, Bob was nominated for The Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Award for Traditional Male Blues Artist. He has won Blues Music Awards for guitar in 2008 and 2005.
Bob Margolin has played on several Grammy-winning recordings, won numerous W.C. Handy/Blues Music Awards for his playing and is a KBA Award recipient for Journalism. [In the early ’90s, Margolin began a second career as a music writer. In 2011, he released an eBook featuring the best of his writing — “Steady Rollin’ – Blues Stories, Snapshots, (Intentional) Blues Fiction.] He’s produced albums for numerous artists including Muddy’s son Big Bill Morganfield, Candye Kane, Pinetop Perkins, Mac Arnold, Ann Rabson and produced and consulted on reissues of Muddy Waters’ recordings for the Blue Sky Label for Sony/Legacy.
In October 2020, Bob released an all-acoustic EP of new songs informed by the new world of Isolation, solo videos, and our new challenges.