MUDDY WATERS -- His Best: 1947 to 1956 (MCA / Chess)

When it comes to the blues, there is one name that comes to mind before all others - Muddy Waters. The fact that more artists have covered these songs than there are tracks on this CD is an indication of his vast musical influence. Waters started recording for the Aristocrat label (which later became Chess) in 1947, accompanying blues pianist, Sunnyland Slim. In April of 1948, Waters recorded the classics "I Can't Be Satisfied" and "I Feel Like Going Home" and he was on his way.

By 1953, Waters could do no wrong. He had already waxed classics like "Rollin' Stone," the two-part "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "She Moves Me," "Standing Around Crying," and "Baby, Please Don't Go." At this point, there was no stopping him. His band became known as 'The Headhunters,' due to their reputation of blowing bands off the stage with their superior musicianship. Still, his biggest success was yet to come.

In 1954, legendary bluesman Willie Dixon supplied Waters with the three biggest hits of his career up to that point--"I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man," I Just Want to Make Love to You," and "I'm Ready." Muddy scored another major hit in 1955 with his cover of Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man" (retitled "Mannish Boy"). Waters' success continued over the next few years, although a bit more sporadic. The second MCA / Chess collection, His Best: 1956 - 1964 (reviewed last month in Cosmik), covers most of the highlights from that era.

For those who are just discovering Muddy Waters--start with the first disc, then pick up the second one. If you're already a fan, the improved sound quality and informative liner notes make both CDs a worthy addition to your collection. Together, these CDs are an excellent retrospective of a true American treasure.


I Can't Be Satisfied * I Feel Like Going Home * Train Fare Blues * Rollin' and Tumblin', Part One * Rollin' Stone * Louisiana Blues * Long Distance Call * Honey Bee * She Moves Me * Still a Fool * Standing Around Crying * Baby, Please Don't Go * I Want You to Love Me * I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man * I Just Want to Make Love to You * I'm Ready * Young Fashioned Ways * Mannish Boy * Sugar Sweet * Trouble No More

© 1997 Steve Marshall