Muddy Waters

Mojo: The Best of Muddy Waters Live! 1971-1976

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This compilation was assembled from three live performances, two in the Northwest in 1971 and one in Switzerland in April 1976. There are already several live Muddy Waters albums available, including some recorded during this era. Not only that, the 74-minute program does not exactly offer much in the way of surprising repertoire: "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Walking Thru the Park," "Mannish Boy," and "Got My Mojo Working" are all available in superior live and/or studio versions, sometimes several times over. So is this an essential addition to your Waters collection? Probably not. However, if you can't drink enough of those Muddy Waters, it's respectable enough. The sound quality is good, and the atmosphere a little more electric and driving than that on Paris 1972, to give one example of another live disc from the period. The 1971 band was quite full, with Sammy Lawhorn and Pee Wee Madison on guitar, George "Harmonica" Smith on harmonica, and Pinetop Perkins on piano; the 1976 band, with the same rhythm section but new members on guitar and harmonica, were pretty good as well. If you're looking for particular points of interest, Waters and the band really stretch things out on a ten-minute "She's Nineteen Years Old"; Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, and not Waters, takes the lead vocal on "Dust My Broom"; and "Mannish Boy" has an unusual minor-note flavor.

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