Guitarists John Primer and Billy Flynn, bassist Felton Lewis, and drummer Kenny “Beady Eyes” Smith are part of an aggregation that’s long worked for the preservation and perpetuation of Chicago blues. That core gives this tribute disc continuity, letting guests who actually worked with Muddy Waters – such as Johnny Winter, guitarist Bob Margolin, and harp legend James Cotton – fit in smoothly and giving newer players like Derek Trucks and Gary Clark, Jr. sure footing and room to shine.
Trucks’ slide and Matthew Skoller’s harp help nail the Muddy Waters vibe on “She Moves Me.” Skoller also helps a modernized “Mannish Boy” work despite sped-up tempo and electronic drums.
Steve Gibons’ sweet and lowdown fiddle elevates an already impressive traditional take on “Rosalie.” Like “Feel So Good,” with Cotton’s harp and Crews on bass, “Rosalie” features a stripped-down core of Primer, Flynn, and Smith.
“Rosalie” is one of the disc’s standouts and should inspire right thinking folks to not just further explore Muddy Waters’ music but that of the best of his many acolytes – especially, Primer, Flynn, and Skoller.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s November ’15 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.