This new collection chronicles the rise of Muddy Waters from tractor driver to the king of the blues. It presents 36 of his formative first recordings on two CDs covering his debut years from 1941 to ’50.
Included here are a sample of Muddy’s premiere recordings, captured by folklore collector Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941 and known as the famous “Stovall Plantation” sides. They show Muddy at his best: rollicking blues with a sensitive edge, hot guitar rhythms, and vocals that send a chill down your spine.
Inspired by hearing himself on record, Muddy moved from Mississippi to Chicago and soon recorded a series of hits for the visionary Aristocrat/Chess label. These early songs are all here, from “I Can’t Be Satisfied” to “Rolling Stone.”
These songs have been collected in other places, of course. But this set has better sound than some and includes a nice liner book with an overview of Muddy’s career.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Dec. ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.