Muddy Waters

The Lost Tapes

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It's been a while since we've seen any unreleased material from Muddy Waters. You've heard all of this before, but the clarity of the sound, and the fact that Waters seems in pretty good spirits, playing with a crack band, makes The Lost Tapes an essential addition to any blues lover's collection, and a must buy for Waters devotees. The band is really a great one, with pianist Pinetop Perkins, guitarists Pee Wee Madison and Sammy Lawhorn, George Harmonica Smith, bassist Calvin "Fuzz" Jones and drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. They push Waters into a mostly mellow framework. The first seven cuts were recorded at the University of Washington, and comprise favorites like "Honey Bee," "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Walkin' Through the Park," "Trouble No More," "Just to Be with You," and a lengthy spoken intro by Waters prior to the ten-minute "She's Nineteen Years Old." Tracks are banded for radio airplay, and everything is so very well recorded. The final four cuts were recorded at the University of Oregon: "Long Distance Call," "Mannish Boy," "Crawlin' Kingsnake" and the cookin' "Got My Mojo Workin'." Waters' signature mellow but insistent persona shines, the band is ultra-tight, Perkins and Smith lay it out time after ever lovin' time, and Waters' slide work gets some overdue play. Don't hesitate on this one thinking it's outtakes or damaged, substandard goods. It's not by a long shot; in fact, it might be the best live Muddy Waters ever released, and an important audio document from perhaps the greatest bluesman of them all.

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