After a string of mediocre albums throughout most of the 1970s, Muddy Waters hooked up with Johnny Winter for 1977's Hard Again, a startling comeback and a gritty demonstration of the master's powers. Fronting a band that includes such luminaries as James Cotton and "Pine Top" Perkins, Waters is not only at the top of his game, but is having the time of his life while he's at it. The bits of studio chatter that close "Mannish Boy" and open "Bus Driver" show him to be relaxed and obviously excited about the proceedings. Part of this has to be because the record sounds so good. Winter has gone for an extremely bare production style, clearly aiming to capture Waters in conversation with a band in what sounds like a single studio room. This means that sometimes the songs threaten to explode in chaos as two or three musicians begin soloing simultaneously. Such messiness is actually perfect in keeping with the raw nature of this music; you simply couldn't have it any other way.
It is somewhat bewildering that no true, complete American retrospective exists on one of its most successful, enduring and beloved duos, Daryl Hall and John Oates, who, at their time, were the most successful duo in rock & roll's short history. This Danish two-CD compilation collects all their essential hits, as well as some rarities. All the number ones and Top Ten hits are here, including "Sara Smile," "She's Gone," "Rich Girl," "Kiss on My List," "You Make My Dreams," "Private Eyes," "Did It in a Minute," "Maneater," "One on One," "Family Man," "Say It Isn't So," "Out of Touch," "Adult Education," "Method of Modern Love," "Everything Your Heart Desires," and the enduring, oft-covered and sampled "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)."