Champagne & Reefer
Ahead of his time once again, the Blues Master’s plea for decriminalizing marijuana, “Champagne & Reefer”, came a full 15 years before the first state would do so for medical use in the USA. In the song’s lyrics Muddy reckons:
Well you know there should be no law
on people that want to smoke a little dope
Well you know it's good for your head
And it relax your body don't you know
The tune features a slow bubbling rhythm that punctuates Muddy’s heartfelt testifyin’ about the simpler things in life: reefer when he wants to get high, champagne when he wants to drink, and his woman when he’s feeling lonely:
Yeah bring me champagne when I’m thirsty
Bring me reefer when I want to get high
Well you know when I’m lonely
Bring my woman set her right down here by my side
“Champagne & Reefer” was written by Muddy Waters and appeared on his fourteenth and final studio album, 1981s King Bee, produced by Johnny Winter and released on the Blue Sky label. The song features one of Muddy’s most smokin’ bands: “Steady Rollin’” Bob Margolin and Johnny Winter - guitars, Pinetop Perkins - piano, Jerry Portnoy – harmonica, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith – drums and Calvin Jones – bass.
Muddy famously performed the song live with his band with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones sitting in at Buddy Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago on November 22, 1981. The Stones would revisit the song in 2008, with Muddy’s guitarist Buddy Guy, in the Martin Scorsese directed concert film Shine A Light.