Muddy Waters

Sings Big Bill Broonzy/Folk Singer

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The original version of this two-LPs-on-one-CD release was done by MCA in 1986. Beat Goes On's 1998 remastering runs circles around the MCA version for sound, and also outclasses, ever so slightly, Mobile Fidelity's Ultradisc edition of Folk Singer. The Sings Big Bill album is the main beneficiary, songs like "Tell Me Baby" finally leaping out at you with the kind of impact that Muddy Waters' work was supposed to have -- now you can hear what the Rolling Stones must have when they decided to cover this number, not the washed out resonances of the earlier reissues, vinyl and CD alike. The drums and bass are infinitely brighter and sharper, and heavier, and Waters' singing is close, so much so that the older CD pales. New notes are provided along with a reprint of the original jacket copy, and while there's no session information, these do provide insights into the thinking behind the two albums and Waters' approach to them, as well as the surprisingly mixed critical reaction to each at the time. One anomaly is that the songs from Folk Singer are present in their reverse side order, with the side two numbers from the LP preceding those from side one. The BGO mastering on those is also slightly punchier and brighter than the Mobile Fidelity version, though it is the Sings Big Bill numbers that are far-and-away the most altered for the better. (British import)

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