Electric Mud (Remastered) Muddy Waters
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- 1I Just Want To Make Love To You04:19
- 2(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man04:53
- 3Let's Spend The Night Together03:12
- 4She's Alright06:36
- 5I'm A Man (Mannish Boy)03:23
- 6Herbert Harper's Free Press News04:29
- 7Tom Cat03:42
- 8The Same Thing05:50
Info for Electric Mud (Remastered)
With ‘Electric Mud’ Muddy Waters took the blues in a new direction and managed to influence everyone from Chuck D to Jimi Hendrix.
Marshall Chess, son of Chess Records co-founder Leonard, had to work hard to persuade Muddy Waters of the benefits in recording Wading In Electric Mud, released on 5 October 1968. But persuade him he did, and Marshall made plans to set up the studio, and fill it with predominantly jazz-blues crossover musicians who were breaking into blues rock.
Most notably was psychedelic guitarist Pete Cosey who would play a pivotal role in Miles Davis’ mid-70s electric period, in 1968 was a member of Sun Ra Arkestra. Also, much sought-after, bass player and guitarist Phil Upchurch came fresh from a run of jazz guitar gigs with Stan Getz, Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith and Woody Herman. Here he would make up a trio of jazz guitarists alongside Cosey and Roland Faulkner; the bass duties were handled by Chess-man Louis Satterfield..
Another in-house man, producer Gene Barge, also brought his saxophone and arranging skills, while his and Satterfield’s colleague, Morris Jennings stepped in as drummer on the date. Future Earth, Wind & Fire producer Charles Stepney took the electric organ seat, following up a busy period of arranging and composing for R&B vocalists The Dells, and the brilliant Psychedelic Soul group Rotary Connection, and jazz legends Eddie Harris and Ramsey Lewis. He had previously worked with Muddy Waters at Chess a couple of years beforehand, providing arrangements for Brass and the Blues, a mostly successful reimagining of the Waters ‘canon’ in the style of well-selling bluesman BB King.
Marshall Chess brought his backing musicians in early, and so that by the time Waters arrived, all he had to do was come in at the right places identified for vocals and his few solos. But, Waters does a lot more than just go through the motions, he puts in one of his most spirited studio performances.
‘Hoochie Coohie Man’, in particular, seems to synthesise Chess’ vision admirably, comfortably combining heavy backbeat, soaring guitar lines, pulsating bass, swelling organ and jazzy sax.
But it’s Waters’ innate musicality that wins the day and makes Electric Mud work. Listen to the skill he has in shaping his voice around the sharp edges on ‘Tom Cat’, or on the funky reworking of ‘Mannish Boy’, how he power-lifts the heavy rhythms with a single yell, and punches a hole through its armour plating with a “Yeah”, here and there.
The cover of Jagger and Richards’ ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’, is an appreciative doff of the cap to some of his biggest fans, while also attempting to connect with a sizeable slice of the youth market, but it’s the raw power behind Waters’ delivery that shines through. He transforms what might have been a trite exercise in cynicism into a believable impassioned plea for consummation.
Despite his initial misgivings, Waters had enjoyed the session, taking to it’s raw energy and maxed-out volume better than his label-mate Howlin’ Wolf, who would follow him into the studio about a month later to be met by essentially the same backing group.
Turning up the volume connected Muddy with rock audience, just as they had reconnected Waters with his acoustic past for Folk Singer in 1963, Chess had made another good business call. Released on 5 October 1968 and racking up 150,000 sales within six weeks, Electric Mud was the first of his albums to make it on to a Billboard chart.
Jimi Hendrix and a number of other high-profile musicians liked it too, with Hendrix listening to ‘Herbert Harper’s Free Press News’ during his own performance warm-up. Some critics were less impressed, seeing it as prostitution of a sacred genre. But as Nat ‘King’ Cole once said, “Critics don’t buy records they get ’em for free.”
There are many that revere Electric Mud as an overlooked classic. Public Enemy’s Chuck D and others have hailed it an early influence on hip-hop. He even led a reunion performance by the original session players, with hip-hop elements added, rechristened “The Electric MudKats”. Electric Mud is well worth checking out, you cannot keep blues in aspic, it has to move forward and this album moved it forward.
Muddy Waters, vocals
Gene Barge, tenor saxophone, producer
Phil Upchurch, guitars
Roland Faulkner, guitars
Pete Cosey, guitars
Charles Stepney, organ, arranger, producer
Louis Satterfield, bass
Morris Jennings, drums
Anyone who's followed the course of modern popular music is aware of the vast influence exerted on its development by the large numbers of blues artists who collectively shaped and defined the approach to amplified music in the late 1940s and early '50s. chicago was the pivotal point for the development and dissemination of the modern blues and virtually everything else has flowed, in one way or another, from this rich source.
The revolution began inauspiciously enough in 1948 with the release of a 78-rpm single by a singer-guitarist called muddy waters. coupled on aristocrat 1305 were a pair of traditional mississippi delta-styled pieces 'i cant be satisfied' and 'i feel like going home,' and on them waters' dark, majestic singing. waters' use of amplification gave his guitar playing a new, powerful, striking edge and sonority that introduced to traditional music a sound its listeners found very exciting, comfortably familiar yet strangely compelling and, above all, immensely powerful, urgent.
From the start it was he who dominated the music, who led the way-in style, sound, repertoire, instrumentation, in every way-first as a greatly popular club performer from the mid-1940s on and, a few years later, as the most influential recording artist in the new amplified blues idiom. in the years 1948-55 he put forth for definition the fundamental approaches and usages of modern blues in a remarkable series of ground-breaking and, as time has shown, classic records. in the years since, the style waters delineated has been extended, fragmented, elaborated and otherwise commercialized, but the fundamental earthy, vital, powerful sound of the postwar blues as defined by muddy and his bandsmen has yet to be excelled-or even equaled, come to that. it's no accident the rolling stones chose their name from one of waters' finest early recordings the choice was merely prophetic, for muddy and his magnificent bedrock music continue to resonate as thrillingly and powerfully through the music of today as they did back in the late '40s and early '50s when we first heard them.
He was born mckinley morganfield-muddy waters is a nickname given him in childhood-in the tiny hamlet of rolling fork, mississippi, on april 4, 1915, but from the age of three, when his mother died, was raised by his maternal grandmother in clarksdale, a small town one hundred miles to the north.
It is scarcely surprising then that the delta region has nurtured a tradition of blues singing and playing that reflects the harsh, brutal life there, a music shot through with all the agonized tension, bitterness, stark power and raw passion of life lived at or near the brink of despair. poised between life and death, the delta bluesman gave vent to his terror, frustration, rage and passionate humanity in a music that was taut with dark, brooding force and spellbinding intensity that was jagged, harsh, raw as an open wound and profoundly, inexorably, moving. the great delta blues musicians-charley patton, son house, tommy johnson and, especially in waters' case, the brilliant, tortured robert johnson-sang with a naked force, majesty and total conviction that make their music timeless and universal in its power to touch and move us deeply. Visit: www.muddywaters.com/bio.html
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