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The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album

Muddy Waters

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Album Review

This is a Muddy Waters album, but it intersects so tightly with the history of the Band, that it should be checked out by any serious fans of the group. Levon Helm — who is as proud of having made this record and worked with Muddy as he is of any music he's ever made — produced and played, and Garth Hudson played keyboards on these sessions, which otherwise feature Waters' touring band. The repertory includes several blues and R&B standards, among them "Kansas City" and "Caldonia," of the kind that the Band did on Moondog Matinee, except that these performances are better. Further, the album is a prelude to Waters' presence at The Last Waltz. Indeed, The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album is really a nexus between Moondog Matinee and The Last Waltz, and picks up a broken thread from the group's early history — The Band had hooked up briefly with Sonny Boy (Rice Miller) Williamson II in Arkansas, and had hoped to record with him, but Williamson died of cancer before they could work together. This late-era Muddy album gave Helm and Hudson a chance to work at Chess before the label closed its doors, with a figure of even greater stature than Williamson. What's more, for the record, it's a great album, a Grammy winner for Muddy and one of Helm and Hudson's more rewarding non-Band projects.

Biography

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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