Various Artists

Folk Festival of the Blues [Chess]

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This 1963 live recording of a top Chicago bluesmen is an enjoyable, yet uneven record. Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Buddy Guy are heard performing some their most popular numbers at Big Bill's Copa Cabana Club in Chicago, backed by an all-star band. Waters sounds especially in command as he feeds off the electric, nightclub setting on "Sittin' and Thinkin'" and "Nineteen Years Old"; a revival atmosphere permeates the performances as the audience responds in-kind to Waters' secular preaching. Buddy Guy is as equally charged as his mentor on the Willie Dixon number "Don't Know Which Way To Go" and his original "Worried Blues." The intensity subsides, though, with lackluster performances by Williamson and Wolf, thankfully to return with one of Waters' most incredible renditions of his perennial "Got My Mojo Working." If you want to hear songs by any of these great, electric blues innovators check out their many individual Chess titles. If you are one of the converted, then Folk Festival of the Blues would be an interesting record to hear, but certainly not essential.