Muddy Waters – The London Muddy Waters Sessions

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  • Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout making this the best copy to ever hit the site!
  • Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of these wonderful sessions, this is the way to go
  • The London Muddy Waters Sessions won the 1972 Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording! 
  • A great lineup: Blues fans Rory Gallagher, Steve Winwood and Mitch Mitchell are all featured here, along with many other Bluesmen

This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the best sides of this Modern Blues album from 1972 have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1972
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with the guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
  • Transparency, resolution and freedom from smear

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for starters. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on The London Muddy Waters Sessions

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

The Players

Muddy Waters – slide guitar, vocals
Sammy Lawhorn – guitar
Rory Gallagher – guitar
Carey Bell Harrington – harmonica
Rick Grech – bass
George Fortune – piano, organ
Steve Winwood – piano, organ
Mitch Mitchell – drums
Herbie Novelle – drums
Rosetta Hightower – vocals
Ernie Royal – trumpet
Joe Newman – trumpet
Garnett Brown – trombone
Seldon Powell – tenor saxophone

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Blind Man Blues
Key To The Highway
Young Fashioned Ways
I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town
Who’s Gonna Be Your Sweet Man When I’m Gone

Side Two

Walkin’ Blues
I’m Ready
Sad Sad Day
I Don’t Know Why

The Story of the Album

The album features Waters on slide and acoustic guitar, backed by Sammy Lawhorn and Rory Gallagher on guitar, Carey Bell Harrington on harmonica, Rick Grech on bass, George Fortune and Steve Winwood on piano and organ, Mitch Mitchell from Jimi Hendrix Experience and Herbie Novelle on drums and Rosetta Hightower on vocals, Ernie Royal and Joe Newman on trumpet, Garnett Brown on trombone and Seldon Powell on tenor saxophone.

Irish blues-rocker Gallagher, who began a successful solo career following the demise of his trio, Taste, played on three tracks, providing solos on “Young Fashion Ways” and two others. Winwood reprised his keyboard role on the Howlin’ Wolf sessions, making appearances on three tracks. Fortune, a swinging-jazz-blues player, played on the remaining tracks.

Mitchell, who had worked with Georgie Fame’s Blues Flames prior to joining the Jimi Hendrix Experience and drew his greatest inspiration from jazzmen such as Elvin Jones, played on most of the album. On the shuffles like “I’m Ready” and “Blind Man Blues”, the drummer is New York session veteran Novelle.

Grech was best known as one-fourth of Blind Faith, together with Winwood. (It is also noteworthy that Blind Faith included two ex-Cream members, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton — the latter having played on The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions.) But at this juncture, Grech had become a member of Traffic, another band led by Winwood.

Blues harp man Carey Bell was essential. Like Muddy, Bell was born in Mississippi and came of age in Chicago; Like Lawhorn, he was a long-time member of Waters band, having previously worked with John Lee Hooker, Eddie Taylor and Earl Hooker, among others. Bell alternated between a standard Marine Band harp and the big double-key chromatic harp which was his specialty.

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