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Blues - Released January 1, 1964 | Geffen*

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Muddy's "unplugged" album was cut in September of 1963 and still sounds fresh and vital today. It was Muddy simply returning to his original style on a plain acoustic guitar in a well-tuned room with Willie Dixon on string bass, Clifton James on drums, and Buddy Guy on second acoustic guitar. The nine tracks are divvied up between full rhythm section treatments with Buddy and Muddy as a duo and the final track, "Feel Like Going Home," which Waters approaches solo. What makes this version of the album a worthwhile buy is the inclusion of five bonus tracks from his next two sessions: An April 1964 session brings us Willie Dixon's "The Same Thing" and Muddy's "You Can't Lose What You Never Had," while the October 1964 session features J.T. Brown on sax and clarinet on "Short Dress Woman" and "My John the Conqueror Root," as well as "Put Me in Your Lay Away," another strong side. Folk Singer offers both sides of Muddy from the early '60s. ~ Cub Koda
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Blues - Released January 1, 1996 | Geffen* Records

This album marks what could probably be considered the nadir of Muddy Waters' career, although at the time it did sell somewhere between 200,000 and 250,000 copies, a lot for Waters in those days. By 1968, Waters was no longer reaching black audiences, who were mostly listening to soul music by that time, and he also wasn't selling records to more than a relatively small cult of white blues enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Cream were selling millions of records each using licks and sometimes songs learned from Waters. Previously, in 1966, Chess Records had recorded Waters' Brass and the Blues, trying to make him sound like B.B. King, and this time Leonard Chess' son Marshall conceived Electric Mud as a way for Waters to reach out to the Rolling Stones/Hendrix/Cream audience. Recorded in May of 1968, Electric Mud features Waters in excellent vocal form, running through new versions of old songs such as "I Just Want to Make Love to You," "She's Alright," "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Mannish Boy," and "The Same Thing." But he isn't playing, and the band that is -- Phil Upchurch, Roland Faulkner, and Pete Cosey on guitars, Gene Barge on sax, Charles Stepney on organ, Louis Satterfield on bass, and Morris Jennings on the drums -- is trying awfully hard to sound like the Jimi Hendrix Experience-meets-Cream, playing really loud with lots of fuzztone and wah-wah pedal. The covers of the old songs are OK, if a little loud -- "She's Alright" starts to resemble "Voodoo Chile" more than its original, "Catfish Blues," and that's fine if you're looking for Waters to sound like Hendrix (no one has ever explained the "My Girl" fragment with which the song closes, however). The most interesting of the "new" songs is his cover of "Let's Spend the Night Together" (barely recognizable as the Stones song), which opens with the band sounding like they're in the middle section of "Sunshine of Your Love." Waters pulls this and the rest off vocally, and the album did got him some gigs playing to college audiences that otherwise might not have heard him. Ironically, he was never able to play these songs on-stage, his own band being unable to replicate their sound, and he was never comfortable with the album. It would be a few years before producers realized that the solution was to simply let Muddy be Muddy, not Jimi. ~ Bruce Eder
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Pop - Released September 2, 2003 | Epic - Legacy

Accompanied by Johnny Winter and his band, Muddy Waters turns in an enthusiastic performance on Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live. The set list contains most of his biggest hits, and the sound quality and performances are mostly energetic. Still, there's something faintly repetitive about this record. For one thing, there's only one song here, "Deep Down in Florida," that comes from any of Waters' recent albums. All of the others are old standards, which makes this album rather superfluous, since there are equally forceful performances of these cuts elsewhere. It doesn't help any that "Deep Down in Florida" isn't an especially noteworthy song, sounding more like a rewrite of Waters' older, better cuts. Without much in the way of new material, or anything especially notable about the performances, it sometimes comes off as little more than a set of Muddy Waters' greatest hits, with applause as the sole new ingredient. The addition of Johnny Winter is surprisingly unexceptional as well, since Winter fades into the background as much as any other bandmember. None of it is unlistenable, but it's hardly indispensable. Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live is a nice addition to the Muddy Waters catalog, but it's not nearly as essential as his earlier work. ~ Victor W. Valdivia
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Blues - Released May 20, 2016 | Justin Time Records

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Blues - Released May 18, 2004 | Epic - Legacy

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Blues - Released April 2, 1957 | Geffen

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Blues - Released July 9, 2012 | Eagle Rock Entertainment

Blues - Released January 7, 1954 | Old Town

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Blues - Released August 25, 1999 | Epic - Legacy

Blues - Released December 13, 2017 | Resurfaced Records

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Blues - Released January 1, 1972 | Geffen* Records

Following in the footsteps of his fellow Chicago blues legend Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters journeyed across the big pond in 1972 to record an album with some of British rock's leading lights. Rory Gallagher, Rick Grech, Steve Winwood, and Mitch Mitchell were of the generation that had grown up loving Muddy's blues, and these sessions afforded them the opportunity to give something back to the man who had inspired them. The difference between the Brits' approach and the traditional Chicago style is immediately apparent, right down to the preponderance of very un-Chicago inside notes in Mitch Mitchell's drumming. However, the intent of these sessions was to put a new sheen on Muddy's music while not straying too far from its roots. In this respect, the album is a success. The horn section that appears on some cuts is far less incongruous than on the notorious MUDDY, BRASS & THE BLUES. A guitars-only version of "Walkin' Blues" offers a rare (and unexpected in this context) peek at Muddy's Robert Johnson/Son House Delta roots. As is often the case with superstar sessions, this is not the place to begin for neophytes, but much of this album stands up well among Muddy's early-'70s U.S. recordings.
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Blues - Released January 1, 1995 | Geffen* Records

Of all the post-Fathers & Sons attempts at updating Waters' sound in collaboration with younger white musicians, this album worked best because they let Waters be himself, producing music that compared favorably to his concerts of the period, which were wonderful. His final album for Chess (recorded at Levon Helm's Woodstock studio, not in Chicago), with Helm and fellow Band-member Garth Hudson teaming up with Waters' touring band, it was a rocking (in the bluesy sense) soulful swansong to the label where he got his start. Waters covers some songs he knew back when (including Louis Jordan's "Caldonia" and "Let the Good Times Roll"), plays some slide, and generally has a great time on this Grammy-winning album. This record got lost in the shuffle between the collapse of Chess Records and the revival of Waters' career under the auspices of Johnny Winter, and was forgotten until 1995. ~ Bruce Eder
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Blues - Released January 1, 1973 | Geffen

Muddy's next-to-last Chess album, Can't Get No Grindin' marked a return to working with a band of his own after several experimental line-ups and recordings -- Pinetop Perkins took over the piano spot from the late Otis Spann, with Chess veteran harpist James Cotton aboard, and PeeWee Madison, and Sammy Lawhorn handling the guitars (apart from Muddy's axe, natch). The music is raw, hard-edged, and sharp (the guitars slash and cut), more like a successor to Muddy's classic 1950's sides (he rethinks a bunch '50s numbers here) than to the London Sessions, Super Blues, brass blow-outs, and psychedelic albums that he'd been doing. It's also easy to hear Muddy's heart in this release -- he fairly oozes soul out of every note he sings. The title track, "Sad Letter," and "Mother's Bad Luck Child" are all killer tracks, and most of the rest isn't far behind, though "Garbage Man" is the best known of the newer tracks, thanks to subsequent covers. ~ Bruce Eder & Bill Dahl
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Blues - Released June 5, 2007 | Epic - Legacy

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Blues - Released July 9, 2012 | Eagle Rock Entertainment

Country - Released October 25, 2013 | Star Evens Digital

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Blues - Released January 9, 2019 | SPV

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Blues - Released May 12, 1969 | Geffen* Records

After the Rain dates from the most controversial period in Muddy Waters' history -- along with its predecessors, Electric Mud (probably the most critically despised album in Muddy's catalog) and Brass and the Blues (an effort to turn him into B.B. King), it came out of an era in which Chess Records was desperately thrashing around trying any musical gambit to boost the sales of its top blues stars. But unlike Electric Mud, in which the repertoire selected by producer Marshall Chess was mostly unsuited, and the musical settings provided by Phil Upchurch, Pete Cosey et al. were too loud and too frenetic for Muddy's style of singing, After the Rain simply let him be Muddy Waters. The album mostly featured higher-wattage remakes of a lot of familiar repertoire, including "Honey Bee" and "Rollin' and Tumblin'," and also reintroduced Muddy's own electric guitar, which had mostly been unheard on his recordings of the 1960s (and completely missing from Electric Mud). And on the tracks where he does play lead, they're first-rate representations of his talent as it stood at the tail end of the 1960s, powerful and bold, like a king (or maybe even a god) surveying a blues landscape he had shaped, and ranging across it freely. Even the tracks on which the heavily modernistic touches appear (such as Cosey's bowed guitar on "Bottom of the Sea") don't harm the flow or tone of the overall album. The latter is as close to an experimental track as After the Rain gets, and Muddy gets into the spirit of the piece as a singer far better here than he did on most of the preceding album. But mostly he is just himself here, not overly bold -- which may be the record's major flaw, but an understandable one after the reception accorded Electric Mud -- and not too much different from the previous decade. And it's immensely pleasing on that basis alone, even if the sales figures didn't reflect this -- it would take time for Muddy to rebuild his old audience, and he and Chess Records would go on to try other settings, working with young white blues enthusiasts (Fathers and Sons) and U.K. rock admirers (The London Muddy Waters Sessions) with varying results, some of them (The Woodstock Album) award-winning. But After the Rain, though ignored at the time, was a worthy and thoroughly worthwhile addition to his discography, and not just as a curio -- moments like "Honey Bee," "Blues and Trouble," "Screamin' and Cryin'," and "Hurtin' Soul" show what he could do with these younger players in tow (as opposed to the other way around on Electric Mud), and all of it will bring a smile to any real fan. ~ Bruce Eder

Blues - Released December 13, 2017 | Resurfaced Records

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