Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Muddy Waters and Friends - Goin' Way Back

While I have always dug Muddy Waters and his incomparable contribution to modern music, it's just over the last few years that I've really been exploring the deeper contents of his recorded career. This release is not overly well known (I just found out about it due to a Facebook post by Eddie Flowers - thanks!) and it is somewhat unusual in that it is a recording made at a rooming house that the band stayed at in Montreal, Canada after a show. Archivist Michael Nerenberg was at the show and pitched the idea of an old-time, "back porch", loose-knit recording session and the group agreed, so on October 18, 1967, he set up his tape recorder in the living room of the house. Muddy, of course, led the way, along with Otis Spann, Sam Langhorn, John Buford and Luther Johnson, all eschewing their usual instruments and playing acoustic guitars, singing and, in Buford's case, playing harmonica.

Of course, the group is in fine form, and work together as a unit on these older, acoustic tunes. It's a great set consisting of "Gypsy Woman", "Little Anna Mae", "My Home Is In the Delta", "Take a Little Walk", "Mean Disposition", "Laverne", "Leavin' in the Mornin'", "Got a Sweet Little Girl", "Bad Lovin' Trouble", "Nothin' Bother Me" and "Crazy 'Bout You Baby". Prime Muddy all the way, with his exceptional voice and slide guitar work, and the interplay between the guitars and harmonica is as good as the blues gets! The intimate setting just adds to the coolness and the sound is pretty damn excellent.

There's not much by Waters that is not powerful, but even considering his usual consistency, this is a damn good one. Recommended!