A Tribute to Muddy Waters: King of the Blues is the soundtrack to the PBS television special of the same name. The bulk of the show and the soundtrack are devoted to a tribute concert held at the Kennedy Center on October 11, 1997. As is typical with any Kennedy Center concert, the show was filled with American music legends, and even if the featured artists may occasionally seem a little odd -- Phoebe Snow may be a great singer, but she's never truly been associated with the blues -- they all turn in solid performances. Problem is, they're undone a little bit by the bookend contributions from Muddy himself. "Trouble No More" and "Got My Mojo Workin'" are undisputed classics and they hammer home the fact that even if other musicians can deliver enjoyable versions of Waters' songs, nobody can sing them like Muddy himself. Still, selections from Keb' Mo' ("I Can't Be Satisfied"), Koko Taylor ("Long Distance Call"), Charlie Musselwhite ("I Got a Rich Man's Woman"), John Hiatt ("The Same Thing"), Robert Jr. Lockwood ("Mean Red Spider"), and (especially) Peter Wolf ("Rollin' & Tumblin," plus the affectionate liner notes), make this worthwhile for Muddy devotees wanting to hear a loving new spin on classic tunes.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine