- A KILLER copy with insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from the first note to the last
- If you’re looking for a Hot Stamper Blues album to add a little variety to your collection, you can’t do much better this copy of I’m Ready
- ‘Waters and band provide these well-worn gems with a little new studio polish, but it is with the newer songs that the performers really shine… For new listeners trying to get a feel of what the blues is all about, I’m Ready and its bookends are the albums to start with. Once you experience a taste of Muddy Waters, you’ll be ready for more.”
*NOTE: On side one there is a mark that plays lightly ten times at the start of the first track.
Waters made three albums with Johnny Winters in the ’70’s, including this one. Muddy was still in great form, and the sound can be fantastic on the right copy. It’s not easy to find blues recordings that sound natural and honest while still giving you the energy, presence and clarity needed to bring the music to life, but this bad boy has exactly the sound we were looking for.
This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back.
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.).
Hot Stamper sound is rarely about the details of a given recording. In the case of this album, more than anything else a Hot Stamper must succeed at recreating a solid, palpable Muddy Waters singing live in your listening room. The better copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
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 less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.
What the best sides of this Authentic Blues Album from The Master 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 Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1978
- 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 I’m Ready
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
- 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.
Who Do You Trust?
I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man
Screamin’ and Cryin’
Good Morning Little School Girl
For the middle album of his Johnny Winter-produced, late-’70s musical trilogy, blues giant Muddy Waters brought a new spirit to some familiar material. Starting with members of Waters’ touring band — pianist Pinetop Perkins, bassist Bob Margolin, and drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith — Winter added underrated guitarist (and longtime Waters foil) Jimmy Rogers and extraordinary harp player Big Walter Horton to the mix.
The songs recorded for I’m Ready offer a mix of new material and vintage hit singles like the title cut, the mid-’60s jewel “Screamin’ and Cryin’,” or the Willie Dixon-penned “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man.” Waters and band provide these well-worn gems with a little new studio polish, but it is with the newer songs that the performers really shine…
For new listeners trying to get a feel of what the blues is all about, I’m Ready and its bookends are the albums to start with. Once you experience a taste of Muddy Waters, you’ll be ready for more.