Muddy Waters: The Best Of Muddy Waters

A rather comprehensive LP and CD collection of Chess dates by the man who played guitar 'Mississippi style, not the city way'


Like everyone else, probably including Mick Jagger, I first heard Muddy when his first 78 came out here on Vogue. Rolling Stone, I think it was. He was satisfyingly original and a sudden jump up from Josh White and Bill Broonzy, to whom we were accustomed. I have never wavered in my love for his work, although with less than 10 CDs by him, I can hardly count as a specialist.

I did meet him later on, and I can tell you that he and his pianist Otis Spann were very nice people, in addition to their outstanding blues qualifications. Bill Broonzy, who helped set up Muddy when he moved north to Chicago from Mississippi, described him: “It’s real. Muddy’s real. See the way he plays guitar? Mississippi style, not the city way. He don’t play chords, he don’t follow what’s written down in the book. He plays notes, all blues notes, making what he’s thinking.”

You’ll find a lot of the early classics here, including the unforgettable Louisiana Blues and the familiar string of Honey Bee, Rollin’ Stone, Hoochie Coochie Man and the others, including the splendid Evans Shuffle, an instrumental for Little Walter’s expressive and powerful harmonica.

Muddy had his corner of jazz sewn up, and no one ever came along to threaten it. His talent was so prodigious as to be not copyable.

Groove Relic seems to be a strange, but generous label. With the LP comes a free CD, which has the same 16 tracks on it, but in better sound quality than the LP, plus another 10 (listed below) by Muddy from contemporaneous dates. All these are from the Chess label, and it’s interesting to observe that Leonard Chess himself provides the insensitive drum interpolations on She Moves Me.

Still, we owe him for his free CD. God bless you, sir!

I Just Want To Make Love To You; Long Distance Call; Louisiana Blues; Honey Bee; Rollin’ Stone; I’m Ready; Evans Shuffle; Too Young To Know (23.30) – Hoochie Coochie Man; She Moves Me; I Want You To Love Me; Standing Around Crying; Still A Fool; I Can’t Be Satisfied; She’s So Pretty; I Feel Like Going Home (23.27)
Waters (g, v); Little Walter (hca); Otis Spann (p); Jimmy Rogers (g); Willie Dixon or Ernest Crawford (b); Fred Below (d) and others. The above 16 tracks make up the LP. The free CD enclosed has those 16 tracks plus another 10 by similar groups which are: Walkin’ Blues; Looking For My Baby; Gone To Main Street; Who’s Gonna Be Your Sweet Man; Got My Mojo Working; Forty Days And Forty Nights; Crawlin’ King Snake; She’s Into Something; Blues Before Sunrise. The playing time of the CD is 75.58.
Groove Replica 77038LP/LP & CD