Top Artists – Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters – Muddy “Mississippi” Waters Live – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume

If you’ve got the system to play a record like this (the bigger the better), you can have Muddy Waters perform live in your listening room — eyes closed of course, you won’t be able to see him, but you sure will be able to hear him, and in shockingly realistic sound.

It’s shocking how well recorded Muddy’s later albums are. Who knew? 

His earlier records on Chess may be better; can’t say, haven’t found too many that were in playable condition. But they sure won’t sound like this, or be pressed on quiet Blue Sky vinyl like this.

Muddy Waters won the grammy three years in a row, for Hard Again (1977), I’m Ready (1978) and this album. At least one, and maybe even all three belong in any serious record collection (along with Dixon’s I Am the Blues).

This is Muddy Waters at his best. He’s going down to Florida, where the sun shines damn near every day, so catch him before he gets on his train. There won’t be many copies on the site like this one. (more…)

Muddy Waters – I’m Ready – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

EXCELLENT BLUES SOUND AND MUSIC on this late ’70s ABC album produced by Johnny Winter! King and Winter collaborated on three albums and this is the middle one, great pressings of this album like this one bring this music to a whole new level! It’s so very difficult to find blues records that sound natural and honest to the style while still giving you the energy, presence and clarity needed to bring the music to life — this baby has got that magic.  

If you’re looking for a Hot Stamper Blues album to add a little variety to your collection, this copy of I’m Ready is an excellent choice! (more…)

Muddy Waters – Hard Again – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

This Hot Stamper pressing of Muddy Water’s Five Star 1977 collaboration with Johnny Winter and harmonica great James Cotton has two great sides and quiet vinyl! We dropped the needle on one of these recently and liked the sound, so we picked up a bunch of copies and had a rollickin’ fun shootout. Many of the other copies we played lacked the kind of energy and big bottom end that you get on this pressing, qualities that help kick up this music to the next level.

The highlight, naturally, is the killer version of Mannish Boy that leads of the album. Turn up the volume good and loud and you’ll put yourself front and center at a wild blues club. You won’t get that effect on every copy, but when you have a pressing with lots of presence and life, the sound can be surprisingly natural and realistic. (more…)

The Blues… A Real Summit Meeting

More B.B. King / More Muddy Waters

The Blues… A Real Summit Meeting

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on all four sides of this wonderful double album collection from 1973 
  • This copy is surprisingly spacious, full-bodied and natural, with a nice extended top end, plenty of space around the instruments and few of the problems that plagued most of the pressings we played
  • Features B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Big Mama Thornton, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup and more
  • Recorded live at Newport in New York, this is an OUTSTANDING blues album

This is an excellent sounding Buddah Brown & Pink Label Double LP. Listen to ’Big Mama’ Thorton’s voice on this record — it sounds like somebody forgot to put a limiter on her mic. It is without a doubt one of the most dynamic vocals I have ever heard on any record in my entire life. You feel like you are sitting front row center.

This record sounds JUST RIGHT to me. It doesn’t sound like there’s anything you could do to it to make it sound better. It’s tonally correct from top to bottom and very transparent. If you want a great introduction to the blues, I can’t think of a better one than this. (more…)

Muddy Waters – Folk Singer – Classic Records Reviewed

More Muddy Waters

More Folk Singer

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Sonic Grade: C+

Kills that muddy MOFI, which I must confess I used to like. Things have changed, that’s for sure. The Mobile Fidelity is thick and fat sounding, like most of their awful Anadisq releases, with much less transparency than this Classic.

Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers. 

 

 

Muddy Waters – Folk Singer – Another Muddy MoFi

More Muddy Waters

More Folk Singer

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Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked. 

The MoFi is thick, fat and murky, with much less transparency than the Classic release (which is no award winner either). (more…)

Muddy Waters – Folk Singer

More Muddy Waters

More Folk Singer

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  • An outstanding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound, or close to it, on both sides – quiet vinyl too 
  • Folk Singer is an exceptional live-in-the-studio recording, with some of the best sound Muddy Waters ever managed
  • This ’80s reissue is guaranteed to trounce any heavy vinyl pressing you’ve heard of it or we’ll give you your money back!
  • 4 1/2 Stars: “Muddy’s “unplugged” album was cut in September of 1963 and still sounds fresh and vital today. It was Muddy simply returning to his original style on a plain acoustic guitar in a well-tuned room…”

This 1963 recording pressed on ’80s vinyl has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings cannot 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.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real person singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that. (more…)