Muddy Waters’ penultimate album for Chess Records, first heard in 1973, found him revisiting the lean, mean sound of his famed 50s cuts for the label.
Backed by a band of equally been-around-the-block veterans (pianist Pinetop Perkins, harp player James Cotton, second guitarist Pee Wee Madison), he’s in a more comfortable zone than on the experimental, borderline psychedelic releases of the previous few years.
Key to the album’s success is the familiarity of much of the material, the great man slipping into the likes of the vintage Sad Letter as if it were a well-worn slipper. This is a blues masterclass, the 10 tracks performed with precision and authority, by a crack outfit who barely break a sweat. Of the newer songs, Garbage Man struts along to a sly groove, Muddy’s economical playing weaving its magic with laconic grace.