Folk Singer (Remastered) Muddy Waters
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- 1My Home Is In The Delta03:58
- 2Long Distance Call03:30
- 3My Captain05:10
- 4Good Morning Little Schoolgirl03:12
- 5You Gonna Need My Help03:09
- 6Cold Weather Blues04:41
- 7Big Leg Woman03:25
- 8Country Boy03:29
- 9Feel Like Going Home03:51
- 10The Same Thing02:46
- 11You Can't Lose What You Never Had02:55
Info for Folk Singer (Remastered)
It is unquestionably one of the greatest blues albums ever made, including as it does one of the most evocative blues songs recorded during the modern era. Muddy Waters’s The Folk Singer is a tour de force that combines the Delta roots of the man born and raised in Mississippi with the skills he honed in Chicago.
Since first encountering Leonard and Phil Chess in 1947, at their Aristocrat Records studio (the fledgling label that soon matured into Chess Records), the Delta Blues scene had fizzled to the electrifying bolt of Waters’ gravel-sucking growl, scintillating slide work, and a pulsating stomp boomed by whichever manifestation of his performing band was currently assembled. Compared to the music’s acoustic beginnings, Waters’ interpretation packed the punch of a defibrillator turned up to 11.
His re-interpretation of the Delta sound: loud, confident, brash, and seemingly sassy in the face of convention, was a natural magnet for the extrovert youth of the mid-60s. It’s no coincidence that The Rolling Stones would come knocking at his door just a few months after the tapes had stopped rolling for The Folk Singer sessions in September 1963.
While we would never want to do without this scaled-down gem, you’ve got to wonder how taking an unplugged u-turn was supposed to better engender Waters to a young white audience, given that his raw energy provided his major pull. Indeed, during a period when he was becoming known overseas, touring in Germany and the UK, those were the tactics behind the album, and it worked.
Hence the sublime, yet understated, sounds on this great album, which was placed at 280 out of 500 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the greatest albums of all time. Parring back the amplified instruments has the effect of bringing the Waters’ bellow even further forward of the bass and drums, and one other guitar played by Buddy Guy on all tracks bar the solo ‘Feel Like Going Home’, which rounds off the album with its consummate lesson in microtonal command and evocative blues delivery.
Simply, despite the circumstances that lead to the naming of one of the greatest rock and roll bands, period, the majority of white kids had only heard the other, acoustic form of the Blues, and they liked it. Add into the business equation that while the blues were enjoying a resurgence in popularity, folk music had peaked and dominated the alternative charts. So, while you may have The Beatles ‘From Me To You’ or Gerry and the Pacemakers with ‘How Do You Do It’ topping the main charts, the next-best popular sound was a Dylan or Donovan plus guitar, or at most the whump of a skiffle group.
At the opposite end of the album, the first notes you hear are Waters’ slide whimpering a call, emboldened by Willie Dixon’s gentle-paced bass encouragement, and the reassuringly solid strikes on Clifton James’ snare drum. Bo Diddley’s drummer here is the master of tasteful minimalism and light-handedness, infrequently breaking into nothing more than a pitter-patter fill. The effect is space- lots of space- in the music to pitch and roll in the thunderous waves of Waters’s voice. It’s some of the loudest quiet music ever made, sounding superb in crisp digital clarity.
Renditions of Waters’s classics, including ‘Good Morning School Girl’, here stripped down to the bare essentials, somehow sound more powerful for it. That slide and voice keeps on pulling you in, churning you up, exerting a new hypnotic control. Like being tossed about in the surf, it’s mesmerising and frightening in equal measures.
Enjoy also the bonus tracks laid down in subsequent sessions, Willie Dixon‘s ‘The Same Thing’ and Waters’ ode to detachment, ‘You Can’t Lose What You Never Had’. Superb, even classic songs, but the real magic is in the nine original tracks that some say make up Muddy Waters’ best album.
The Folk Singer is often overlooked, come to late, or missed entirely. Whenever it is discovered, it proves to be a revelation. Don’t leave it any longer to meet this masterpiece, because this is one album where you can lose what you never had. Oh, and that evocative blues song? It’s ‘My Home is in the Delta’… after listening to this album you’ll believe every word of it.
Muddy Waters, vocals, guitar
J.T. Brown, tenor saxophone
Otis Spann, piano
Buddy Guy, guitar
Sammy Lawhorn, guitar
James "Pee Wee" Madison, guitar
James Cotton, harmonica
Willy Dixon, double bass
Milton Rector, double bass
Francis Clay, drums
Clifton James, drums
S.P. Leary, drums
Recorded September 1963 at Tel Mar Recording Studios, Chicago, Illinois
Produced by Muddy Waters, Ralph Bass, Willie Dixon
Anyone who's followed the course of modern popular music is aware of the vast influence exerted on its development by the large numbers of blues artists who collectively shaped and defined the approach to amplified music in the late 1940s and early '50s. chicago was the pivotal point for the development and dissemination of the modern blues and virtually everything else has flowed, in one way or another, from this rich source.
The revolution began inauspiciously enough in 1948 with the release of a 78-rpm single by a singer-guitarist called muddy waters. coupled on aristocrat 1305 were a pair of traditional mississippi delta-styled pieces 'i cant be satisfied' and 'i feel like going home,' and on them waters' dark, majestic singing. waters' use of amplification gave his guitar playing a new, powerful, striking edge and sonority that introduced to traditional music a sound its listeners found very exciting, comfortably familiar yet strangely compelling and, above all, immensely powerful, urgent.
From the start it was he who dominated the music, who led the way-in style, sound, repertoire, instrumentation, in every way-first as a greatly popular club performer from the mid-1940s on and, a few years later, as the most influential recording artist in the new amplified blues idiom. in the years 1948-55 he put forth for definition the fundamental approaches and usages of modern blues in a remarkable series of ground-breaking and, as time has shown, classic records. in the years since, the style waters delineated has been extended, fragmented, elaborated and otherwise commercialized, but the fundamental earthy, vital, powerful sound of the postwar blues as defined by muddy and his bandsmen has yet to be excelled-or even equaled, come to that. it's no accident the rolling stones chose their name from one of waters' finest early recordings the choice was merely prophetic, for muddy and his magnificent bedrock music continue to resonate as thrillingly and powerfully through the music of today as they did back in the late '40s and early '50s when we first heard them.
He was born mckinley morganfield-muddy waters is a nickname given him in childhood-in the tiny hamlet of rolling fork, mississippi, on april 4, 1915, but from the age of three, when his mother died, was raised by his maternal grandmother in clarksdale, a small town one hundred miles to the north.
It is scarcely surprising then that the delta region has nurtured a tradition of blues singing and playing that reflects the harsh, brutal life there, a music shot through with all the agonized tension, bitterness, stark power and raw passion of life lived at or near the brink of despair. poised between life and death, the delta bluesman gave vent to his terror, frustration, rage and passionate humanity in a music that was taut with dark, brooding force and spellbinding intensity that was jagged, harsh, raw as an open wound and profoundly, inexorably, moving. the great delta blues musicians-charley patton, son house, tommy johnson and, especially in waters' case, the brilliant, tortured robert johnson-sang with a naked force, majesty and total conviction that make their music timeless and universal in its power to touch and move us deeply. Visit: www.muddywaters.com/bio.html
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