Muddy Waters – Muddy, Brass & The Blues

More Muddy Waters

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  • This pressing of Muddy, Brass & The Blues offers outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Copies that are this open, clear, and resolving are the ones that present the music as it was meant to be heard, which means they do very well in our shootouts
  • Waters blends the blues with R&B elements on this superb album, one that’s nearly impossible to find with sound this good and surfaces this quiet
  • “Stripped of his guitar once again (the cover photo notwithstanding), Waters proved what a great R&B singer he was — there are moments on this album where he almost crosses over into Otis Redding territory.”

This vintage Chess stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely 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 Muddy, Brass & The Blues 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 1967
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above.

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.

Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.

What We’re Listening For on Muddy, Brass & The Blues

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • 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 common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Corine Corina
Piney Brown Blues
Black Night
Trouble In Mind
Going Back To Memphis

Side Two

Betty And Dupree
Sweet Little Angel
Take My Advice
Trouble
Hard Loser

AMG  Review

Appearing after the release of the singles compilation Real Folk Blues, Brass and the Blues (also sometimes known as Muddy, Brass, and the Blues) was Chess Records’ effort to give some fresh momentum to Muddy Waters’ current recordings. It was only his third original LP following his tribute album to Big Bill Broonzy and the Folk Singer album — like them, it was a concept album, but with a difference.

Those earlier albums had been built around Waters simply returning to sounds and influences out of his past… Stripped of his guitar once again (the cover photo notwithstanding), Waters proved what a great R&B singer he was — there are moments on this album where he almost crosses over into Otis Redding territory.

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