Muddy Waters Day live at Paul’s Mall Boston 1976
Retroworld/Floating World Records
A Blues Genius in His Prime ….. TWICE!
No doubt about it, most blues lovers will have some Muddy Waters music somewhere in their collection, but it is always worth searching back through history to re-discover what the great man was all about. Thanks to Floating World Records we now have a double CD offering that covers 2 “Live Concerts”, albeit with a 16 year gap between them.
The main offering comes from a recording made for WBGH an FM Radio Station in Boston, on 15th. June 1976, a day which the city had declared “Muddy Waters Day”.
It features his mighty fine touring band of that era with Pinetop Perkins (piano), Bob Margolin & Luther Johnson (guitars), Calvin Jones (bass), Willie Smith (drums) and Jerry Portnoy (harmonica). What you hear is a really fine, clear recording and obviously includes most of the classic songs that those in the know would expect; i.e. Hoochie Coochie Man, Baby Please Don’t Go, Mannish Boy and Got my Mojo Working as well as some fascinating covers like Caledonia & Kansas City.
The one thing that may put off purists is the chat from the dignitaries, MC and radio station personnel which you get in-between some of the tracks, but for my money they just add to the authenticity of this artifact. Undisputed as one of the true Kings of the genre, Muddy Waters (aka McKinley Morganfield) left us with some magical music and this live concert, never available before now, shows him and his band at their very best.
But wait a minute, there is also a bonus CD (and believe me it is a genuine ‘bonus’), which not only adds value to the package; but gives a very interesting comparison, as it comes from Muddy’s performance at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival.
Clearly a re-issue, as it was first available in December of that very year, it’s one of 10 other live albums available from the blues icon’s back catalogue. Probably worth pointing out that this historic recording is sometimes referred to by many so called experts as “the” first live blues album, which it may have been in 1960.
On this Newport concert the band consisted of Otis Spann (piano, vocals),Pat Hare (guitar), James Cotton (harmonica), Andrew Stevens (bass) and Francis Clay (drums). Most of the chat between tracks on this brilliant recording has sadly been edited out, so it’s 99% music meaning …… 100% class.
Both CD’s certainly capture what Muddy Waters (and his Band) were all about and having listened to them 3 or 4 times now, I seriously consider that they need to be in everyone’s music collection, whether they are Blues fans or not.
Nostalgically, whilst listening, they transformed me back to my days in the early 1970’s when I worked down South and would go to gigs all over London and the Home Counties.
One night, I was indeed fortunate to go the the Blues Loft at The Nags Head, High Wycombe and saw The Muddy Waters Band play live, even though Mr. Morganfield had one of his legs in a full plaster-cast, propping himself up on a bar stool,. But, he and they still delivered one of the most memorable sets I have ever seen in 6 decades of enjoying live music.
I very much doubt any of today’s ‘so called stars’ would even contemplate such an effort.
Released 24th. April 2020
Review by Jack Kidd (“Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com)