This concert in Paris (part of Norman Granz's latter-day Jazz at the Philharmonic master holdings) emanates from a better-than-decent-quality board tape complete with maddening fader moves keying up the wrong instrument in spots --most notably two choruses of Waters' rhythm guitar unintentionally drowning out everyone, plodding along while Louis Meyers solos on "Blow Wind Blow" -- and missing the first part of several guitar solos and intros by Muddy. But even with every song in the same maddening key of G natural, this 1972 concert nonetheless catches Muddy in good '70s form, presiding over the proceedings in typical dignified bearing. With an all-star lineup of Pinetop Perkins on piano, Mojo Buford on harmonica and Calvin Jones on bass and Willie Smith on drums (along with the aforementioned Myers substituting for Sammy Lawhorn on guitar), the music presented here is rock-solid, even if the key never varies.
Things catch fire early on, with the band laying back when Muddy does (a fairly desultory reading of "Hoochie Coochie Man" that never really gets going) and getting hotter when he gets the itch, as he does on "County Jail," "Honey Bee," and "Lovin' Man," all boasting stinging slide solos. An interesting bonus are full-band treatments of "Rollin' and Tumblin'" and Robert Johnson's "Walking Blues." There's nothing on here that's going to make you trade in your copy of Muddy Waters at Newport, but as a document of latter-day Waters (especially in light of all the samey, uninspired live discs from this period that have come out), this is some pretty great stuff.