As part of the compilation series issued in conjunction with the major television series documentary The Blues, this is a collection of 16 of Waters' more notable performances. Though they span his entire career, actually all but three of them are taken from his prime years for Chess Records between the late '40s and mid-'60s. The two-disc The Anthology: 1947-1972 remains the best Waters best-of (and there have been a number of them) if you want to spend some more money, but this is pretty good if you can be satisfied with a single-disc collection. Many listeners would rate "I Can't Be Satisfied," "Rollin' & Tumblin'," "Rollin' Stone," "Long Distance Call," "(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man," "I Just Want to Make Love to You," "Mannish Boy," "Trouble No More," "Got My Mojo Working," and "You Shook Me" (all of which are here) as not just indisputably among Muddy's best songs, but also as among the most essential electric blues done by anyone. That doesn't mean that there aren't great tracks that didn't make the cut ("Walkin' Thru the Park," "You Need Love," and "I'm Ready," for starters), but at least those are readily available elsewhere if you do decide you crave more than what's here. As Waters compilations go, this does have the mild advantage of taking in a few items before and after his Chess days, those being one of his acoustic early-'40s Library of Congress recordings ("Country Blues, Number One"), a 1946 track from his Columbia session ("Burying Ground Blues"), and a number from his Johnny Winter-produced 1976 Hard Again album ("The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock & Roll").
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger