Sunday, April 20, 2014

Review: 'One More Mile' - Muddy Waters

Bluesmen of old are usually very prolific; their music mantra was to get in a studio and record  much as they can in one day. Indeed, many old bluesmen recorded entire albums in one, two or three days. John Lee Hooker once said "It don't take me no three days to record no album." Bluesmen such as Lightnin' Hopkins have over 500 or 600 songs on record. 

Moving on to Muddy Waters, the father of the electric Chicago blues. In his recording tenure with Chess Records since 1946, he recorded extensively. His early 50's records hit the top of the charts, but he has a huge backlog of unreleased material.

In 1994, part of the Chess Collection albums, the album 'One More Mile' was released, featuring 41 tracks on 2 CD's. Disc 1 contains tracks from 1948 to 1963, and disc 2 from 1964 to 1972. 

Of these 41 tracks, only 3 were released previously (available on the expanded edition of 'Live in Newport 1960'). The rest have never been released at all, so as a fan of Muddy this naturally is very exciting.

A huge catalog of alternate takes from the early records like 'Rollin & Tumblin Part 2', 'Rollin Stone', and 'You Will Need My Help', which feature no drummers or other backup performers (just Muddy and an upright bass played by Ernest 'Big' Crawford), sound so raw and gritty.

The other tracks are more modern sounding with a full backup band, with tracks like 'Roll Me Over Baby', 'One More Mile' and 'Trouble Trouble'. The last 11 songs are an electric drummer-less performance from 1972 in Switzerland.

If you are tired of the same old 'best-of' compilation, go out and buy this album! This is some of Muddy's best work and  covers different stages of his career, and is of top quality throughout. Essential for a blues fan!


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