For many back in the early '60s, this was their first exposure to live recorded blues, and it's still pretty damn impressive some 40-plus years down the line. Muddy, with a band featuring Otis Spann, James Cotton, and guitarist Pat Hare, lays it down tough and cool with a set that literally had 'em dancing in the aisles by the set closer, a rippling version of "Got My Mojo Working," reprised again in a short encore version. Kicking off the album with a version of "I've Got My Brand on You" that positively burns the relatively tame (in comparison) studio take, Waters heads full bore through impressive versions of "Hoochie Coochie Man," Big Bill Broonzy's "Feel So Good," and "Tiger in Your Tank." A great breakthrough moment in blues history, where the jazz audience opened its ears and embraced Chicago blues. This album was in print almost continuously on vinyl for 20-plus years, and MCA reissued it in a fair CD version in 1986. At least one enterprising European bootlegger issued their version in the early 1990s, but the real edition of this album to get is the March 2001 remastering from MCA. Transferred in high-resolution digital audio, it brings up the bass overall and the details of just about every aspect of the playing, as well as moving Muddy's singing several layers forward in the mix, so that one gets a very vivid stage ambience, making the original CD seem very ragged. The reissue has been augmented by the presence of four studio sides cut by the same group a month prior to the concert -- none hold a candle to the live material, but they do fill in a few hole in Muddy's U.S. discography.
Live At Mr. Kelly
This disc captures the classic line-up of Muddy Waters' band as they play some of the most compelling Chicago blues ever to spin its' way out of the vaults of Chess Records. Mr. Kelly's was one of Chicago's high-class jazz clubs in the `60's, while Muddy Waters was making his name on the south- side in the juke-joints. But by 1971, his only real competition being B.B. King, Muddy Waters was primed and ready to wow the local patrons with some delta-born, Memphis-tested, Chicago-bred blues of the highest caliber. About half of the disc is comprised of the usual classics you have come to expect, but Muddy also does a great version of John Lee Hooker's "Boom, Boom, Boom", and some others that might surprise you. With the people assembled here, how could this be anyhing but a winner? James Cotton blows some mean harp throughout the show, and tries to duel with Muddy Waters with some great results. Originally issued on Chess 50012 in 1971, this re-issue of a killer show from Muddy Waters' hey-day is a welcomed addition to any collection. Ola my friends