6

Muddy Waters

Folk Singer

Jan 1964

The only all acoustic release of a career

Chicago Blues, Rhythm‘n Blues and Folk Blues

With its incredible dynamic range and superb playing Folk Singer remains the best sounding blues album in the world ever.

Mindful of the exploding marketplace for folk music in the early sixties, Chess Records decided to have at go at naked commercialism for once. The idea was to simplify things – a sort of early unplugged session - with Muddy on guitar and vocals, rising guitar star Buddy Guy on lead acoustic, Willie Dixon on upright bass and Clifton James occasionally shuffling his drum kit.

There’s a wonderful vibe and lots of air around these recordings – it’s as if Waters was untethered by the absence of electrification. From the moment My Home Is In The Delta hits your speakers the slide guitars, the soft drum shuffles and the perfect mojo voice create a living soundstage. Willie Dixon produced and added just a touch of echo – the result is a sophisticated recording filled with real atmosphere and dynamic range that will make you jump.

The album is a perfect marriage of a cooking ensemble and spot-on production values. Couple this with killer material and Muddy’s cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s salacious Good Morning Little Schoolgirl doesn’t feel like just another workmanlike homage – but an altogether different beast. This is acoustic blues with feeling.

Both Waters and Guy shine like diamonds as they spar on acoustic guitar licks and slides for the misery crawl of You’re Gonna Need My Help – while the session’s sense of mischievousness comes roaring through on the Big Leg Woman’.