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Blues - Released January 1, 1964 | Geffen*

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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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Blues/Country/Folk - 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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This Muddy Waters set was recorded live in at the so-called "Jazz Jamboree" at the Palace of Culture and Sciences in Warsaw, Poland, in 1976 and has been issued many times under various titles over the years, including Floyd's Guitar Blues, Baby Please Don't Go, Hoochie Coochie Man Live!, I'm Ready Live, In Concert, and Live at Jazz Jamboree '76, among others. It's actually a pretty decent outing, and finds Waters working with what amounts to an all-star band with Bob Margolin and Luther Johnson on guitars, Pinetop Perkins on piano, Jerry Portnoy on harmonica, and a rhythm section of Calvin Jones on bass and Willie Smith on drums. It probably isn't an essential Muddy Waters purchase, but it certainly isn't a waste of money either, and dedicated fans shouldn't hesitate to pick it up under one of its various titles. ~ Steve Leggett
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Blues - Released May 18, 2004 | Epic - Legacy

After a string of mediocre albums throughout most of the 1970s, Muddy Waters hooked up with Johnny Winter for 1977's Hard Again, a startling comeback and a gritty demonstration of the master's powers. Fronting a band that includes such luminaries as James Cotton and "Pine Top" Perkins, Waters is not only at the top of his game, but is having the time of his life while he's at it. The bits of studio chatter that close "Mannish Boy" and open "Bus Driver" show him to be relaxed and obviously excited about the proceedings. Part of this has to be because the record sounds so good. Winter has gone for an extremely bare production style, clearly aiming to capture Waters in conversation with a band in what sounds like a single studio room. This means that sometimes the songs threaten to explode in chaos as two or three musicians begin soloing simultaneously. Such messiness is actually perfect in keeping with the raw nature of this music; you simply couldn't have it any other way. There is something so incredibly gratifying about hearing Waters shout out for different soloists, about the band missing hits or messing with the tempos. Hey this isn't pop music, it's the blues, and a little dirt never hurt anybody. The unsung star of this session is drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, whose deep grooves make this record come alive. The five-minute, one-chord "Mannish Boy" wouldn't be nearly as compelling as it is if it weren't for Smith's colossal pocket. Great blues from one of the dominant voices of the genre. ~ Daniel Gioffre
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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 April 2, 1957 | Geffen

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Blues/Country/Folk - Released May 18, 2004 | Epic - Legacy

This 1981 recording found Waters being produced by rocker Johnny Winter, who had brought Muddy back to form on the Hard Again album. Winter was smart enough to surround the great one with musicians who knew his music intimately -- regular band members like Calvin Jones, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson, and Bob Margolin dot the lineup -- and Johnny keeps his own excesses in check on a nice brace of tunes. While most of the tunes here are recuts of older Chess material, Muddy's versions of Slim Harpo's title track and his own "Champagne & Reefer" are worth checking out. Not the place to start a Muddy Waters collection, but a good one to add to the collection after you've absorbed the classics on Chess. ~ Cub Koda

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, 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 July 9, 2012 | Eagle Rock Entertainment

Country - Released October 25, 2013 | Star Evens Digital

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Blues - Released July 2, 2007 | Epic - Legacy

Blues - Released December 13, 2017 | Resurfaced Records

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Blues - Released May 12, 1969 | Geffen* Records

Blues - Released October 12, 2012 | Star Evens Digital

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An undated and unspecified location Muddy concert (though judging from the set it's probably from the early' 80s because of the inclusion of "Garbage Man"), reasonably well recorded with a hot band behind him, his Fender Telecaster stinging with each slide of the string. Although the backing musicians are uncredited, they provide exciting support as well as a top-notch version of "Floyd's Guitar Blues." There is some distortion in the recording, but a largely hot concert by the Mudman and crew make this one a keeper. ~ Cub Koda
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Blues - Released January 1, 1995 | Geffen* Records

This is a Muddy Waters album, but it intersects so tightly with the history of the Band, that it should be checked out by any serious fans of the group. Levon Helm -- who is as proud of having made this record and worked with Muddy as he is of any music he's ever made -- produced and played, and Garth Hudson played keyboards on these sessions, which otherwise feature Waters' touring band. The repertory includes several blues and R&B standards, among them "Kansas City" and "Caldonia," of the kind that the Band did on Moondog Matinee, except that these performances are better. Further, the album is a prelude to Waters' presence at The Last Waltz. Indeed, The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album is really a nexus between Moondog Matinee and The Last Waltz, and picks up a broken thread from the group's early history -- The Band had hooked up briefly with Sonny Boy (Rice Miller) Williamson II in Arkansas, and had hoped to record with him, but Williamson died of cancer before they could work together. This late-era Muddy album gave Helm and Hudson a chance to work at Chess before the label closed its doors, with a figure of even greater stature than Williamson. What's more, for the record, it's a great album, a Grammy winner for Muddy and one of Helm and Hudson's more rewarding non-Band projects. ~ Bruce Eder
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Blues/Country/Folk - Released May 18, 2004 | Epic - Legacy

For the middle album of his Johnny Winter-produced, late-'70s musical trilogy, blues giant Muddy Waters brought a new spirit to some familiar material. Starting with members of Waters' touring band -- pianist Pinetop Perkins, bassist Bob Margolin, and drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith -- Winter added underrated guitarist (and longtime Waters foil) Jimmy Rogers and extraordinary harp player Big Walter Horton to the mix. The songs recorded for I'm Ready offer a mix of new material and vintage hit singles like the title cut, the mid-'60s jewel "Screamin' and Cryin'," or the Willie Dixon-penned "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man." Waters and band provide these well-worn gems with a little new studio polish, but it is with the newer songs that the performers really shine. On the powerful "33 Years," Waters punctuates his tale of lost love with snaky slide guitar, assisted by Horton's wailing electric harp. "Who Do You Trust" features some of Waters' dirtiest vocals, the bluesman growling the lyrics while Winter layers his twangy slide above Horton's harp and Perkins' mournful ivories. "Rock Me" is old-school blues, Waters revisiting this classic cut for the umpteenth time as Rogers and Horton support his vocals with smoky guitar and guest player Jerry Portnoy adds some subtle but assertive electric harp to the affair. I'm Ready closes with the Sonny Boy Williamson chestnut "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," the high-spirited Waters sounding in good form as Portnoy's harp flails away in the background. Although nearing the end of his career, Waters experienced a well-deserved artistic and commercial resurgence thanks to the three albums recorded with Winter for Blue Sky. Hard Again, I'm Ready, and King Bee all bring a harder edge to Waters' classic performances, with Winter's production heavy on the guitar and lighter on the brassy Chicago blues sound unfamiliar to the rock-oriented target audience. For new listeners trying to get a feel of what the blues is all about, I'm Ready and its bookends are the albums to start with. Once you experience a taste of Muddy Waters, you'll be ready for more. ~ Rev. Keith A. Gordon

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