24 April 2020 (released)
22 April 2020
Another of the top releases from Retroworld, this one celebrating Muddy Waters 1976 performance in Boston as the city declared ‘Muddy Waters Day’ on 15th June 1976.
The band featured here is stellar: on top of Muddy himself, the band consists of Pinetop Perkins on piano, Bob Margolin on guitar, Luther ‘Guitar Jr’ Johnson on guitar, Calvin ‘Fuzz’ Jones on bass, Willy ‘Big Eyes’ Smith on drums and Jerry Portnoy on harmonica – not an average player among them!
The album kicks off with a long instrumental featuring the whole band (sans Muddy) and they deliver som fine playing while the sound is set up and they fully warm up. Follow that with a warm pronouncement to Muddy that the day was in his favour and then we get into the meat of the matter.
And bloody tasty meat it is too! As you would expect, there are versions of ‘Caledonia’, ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ and the rest and Muddy is in great voice. The band cooking along on a hot burn and you can really get just why Muddy Waters is held up as one of the true greats of the Blues world.
The version here of ‘Mannish Boy’ is heavy, slow and dark and ‘Got My Mojo Working’ rolls along at pace with superb piano from Perkins.
All told, it’s a terrific set.
Now, add to that a real bonus in a second CD of his set at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960. This was the show that broke him to a much wider audience and features some classic Chicago style Blues with both new and older numbers. His band at the time was Otis Spann (piano, vocals), Pat Hare (guitar), James Cotton (harmonica), Andrew Stevens (bass) and Francis Clay (drums), a band as good as that on the Boston recording. The set if less rock than on the Boston set but played superbly as well.