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Hard Again

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Album Review

The importance of Muddy Waters' 1977 album Hard Again cannot be overstated, and its place as a near universal favorite in the Muddy Waters catalog is no mistake. Recorded in the last decade of his life, Hard Again was the first studio collaboration between Waters and guitarist Johnny Winter, who acted as producer on his last four recordings — the others are I'm Ready, King Bee, and Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live — for Steve Paul's Blue Sky, a Columbia subsidiary. The true revelation here is Waters, whose vigor and fire are renewed; he's hungry for the music and completely in possession of his prowess and power as the true King of the Blues. At 62, Waters was revving up for one final go; Winter pushed him to take the mantle of legend seriously and rise to its challenge. He does with fire, verve and humor. The Muddy Waters Blues Band was a crack outfit on the scene; it included guitarist Bob Margolin, pianist Pinetop Perkins, and drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Winter was on board playing guitar in addition to helming the session, and Waters asked James Cotton to play his harp and the latter brought his bassist, Charles Calmese for the date. The twin-guitar attack featured here is one of the most complementary and symbiotic in late 29th century electric blues. According to Margolin's amazingly warm and informative anecdotal liner notes, Waters never picked up his guitar during these sessions. It doesn't matter. From the opening roar of "Mannish Boy," with shouts and hollers throughout fueled by incendiary guitars to the old-style Delta blues of "I Can't Be Satisfied," with a killer National steel solo by Winter, to Cotton's screeching intro to "The Blues Had a Baby," to the moaning closer "Little Girl," Hard Again is rock solid. Its live feel (recorded in three days from pre-production to final session) harkens back to the Chess days, its intimate, celebaratory vibe and egoless, cooperative musicianship have rarely—if ever—been replicated since that time. The expanded reissue includes one bonus track, an outtake called "Walking Through the Park," that could have made the album without a problem — the other outtake ended up on King Bee. Margolin's notes state that while the album has been remastered, it was not remixed because its sound holds up. He's dead-on. This has the feel of an old-time blues record and the listener can hear — even on CD — the sound of the wood room it was recorded in and the unforced cameraderie of the players united in execting one goal: Making a hell of a Muddy Waters record. Hard Again showcased once again, Waters as lion of the blues; in its grooves lie all the evidence necessary to frame the legend.

Customer Reviews


If you like the blues – even slightly – and you don't have this album you are missing out on one of the greatest treasures the blues can offer. If you like AC/DC, the Strokes, White Stripes, the Who – buy this NOW and hear how it should be done (all those guys have this album, I can practically guarantee). If you don't like the blues, but have chanced upon this page, buy this album anyway. If you can listen to the first ten seconds and not get taken away by the music then you ain't alive. BUY.

This IS the blues

An overwhelming, classic album.If you love music of any kind you should have this album. Muddy at his greatest with outstanding performances from an amazing band.


absolute genius , most influential musician of all time .


Born: 04 April 1915 in Rolling Fork, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Muddy Waters was the single most important artist to emerge in post-war American blues. A peerless singer, a gifted songwriter, an able guitarist, and leader of one of the strongest bands in the genre (which became a proving ground for a number of musicians who would become legends in their own right), Waters absorbed the influences of rural blues from the Deep South and moved them uptown, injecting his music with a fierce, electric energy and helping pioneer the Chicago Blues style that would come...
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