Author – Paul
A 1998 a re-release of the original 1959 tracks from “Big Bill” and the later early 1960’s recording of Muddy’s experimental “Folk Singer” (much maligned by some American music critics on release as being too “soulful” and not “the genuine Muddy”). The album captures the magic of the early Big Bill songs but the production has been done to improve sound quality of the original recordings. The recording quality is certainly better than some earlier releases which makes this album worth searching out. Muddy “Sings Bill” was his second album release made in 1959, a memorial to the great blues singer and musician Big Bill Broonzy. Muddy delivers in forceful Chicago blues style on these tracks which capture the original songs but with Muddy’s own stamp on the performances which stay pretty true to the earlier laid back guitar playing, drumming and piano playing of the late 1950’s.
Folk Singer, although on release during the summer of 1963 was considered a concept album is Muddy at his most soulful. Some performances can sound a little forced compared to early Waters, but listen carefully and the music is neither pure country blues or city blues, but very personal and unique to Muddy Waters, something that makes the album quite unique. My own view is that the Folk Singer performances are raw, pure and constitute one of Muddy Waters landmark albums, as you get drawn in to the performances almost as if being there in the background listening in and overhearing something very personal to the artist himself. This sense is added to by the musical accompaniment not being so much rhythmical as swimming under the eddy current of the lyrics and as a beat emphasising the soulful and individual blues style singing on the album. A great album which should be on every blues fans list of “must haves”
Musical Interest 7
Sound Quality 8