Muddy Waters was the single most important artist to emerge in post-war American blues. A peerless singer, a gifted songwriter, an able guitarist, and leader of one of the strongest bands in the genre (which became a proving ground for a number of musicians who would become legends in their own right), Waters absorbed the influences of rural blues from the Deep South and moved them uptown, injecting his music with a fierce, electric energy and helping pioneer the Chicago Blues style that would come to dominate the music through the 1950s, ‘60s, and '70s. The depth of Waters' influence on rock as well as blues is almost incalculable, and remarkably, he made some of his strongest and most vital recordings in the last five years of his life.
I'm Ready is the thirteenth studio album by Chicago blues veteran Muddy Waters. The second of Waters' Johnny Winter-produced albums for the Blue Sky Records label, I'm Ready was issued one year after he found renewed commercial and critical success with Hard Again. The album earned Waters a Grammy Award in 1978.
Folk Singer is the fourth studio album by Muddy Waters, released in April 1964 by Chess Records. The album features Waters on acoustic guitar, backed by Willie Dixon on string bass, Clifton James on drums, and Buddy Guy on acoustic guitar. It is Waters's only all-acoustic album. Numerous reissues of Folk Singer include bonus tracks from two subsequent sessions, in April 1964 and October 1964. Despite not charting in any country, Folk Singer received critical acclaim; most reviewers praised its high-quality sound, especially on remastered versions, as well as the instrumentation. In 2003, the album was ranked number 280 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Solid vocal and instrumental performances from several legendary bluesmen, including the dynamic "King of the Blues" Muddy Waters, guitar hero Albert King, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and Big Band bluesman Bobby "Blue" Bland. Impressive, authoritative, thoroughly entertaining, and a "must" for blues addicts, old and new.
One could definitely argue that this 16-track album doesn't in fact contain the best of Muddy Waters since it lacks any of his template-setting and explosive 1950s sides from Chess Records, being compiled instead from Waters' late-'70s and early-'80s output on the Blue Sky label with Johnny Winter in the producer's chair. No, the Chess tracks are the ones to get first, but the Blue Sky material makes for a nice addendum, featuring a slightly more refined sound that allows each song to develop easily and naturally. Highlights include a wonderfully ragged and loose acoustic do-over of "I Can't Be Satisfied," a sturdy "Good Morning Little School Girl," and a copycat but still fun version of Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee."Steve Leggett - All Music
The Sony Legacy issue features completely remastered sound and Margolin's candid notes, but it also hosts two bonus tracks from the King Bee sessions that Winter didn't see fit to release the first time. There's a redo of "I Won't Go Down," a cut from the '50s that Waters sings in his lower baritone roar, and "Clouds in My Heart," a deep, long, sad blues that is one of the great unearthed treasures in Waters catalog. This cut alone with all of its deep emotion and the sound of a band trying to hold the storm of emotions in check and failing is a masterpiece and one of the most amazing blues tunes of the last 30 years.