Francis Clay - drums; Calvin Jones - bass; Sammy Lawhorn - guitar; George Smith - harmonica; Luther "Georgia Boy" Johnson - guitar; Muddy Waters - vocals, guitar
Jimi? Clapton? Page? Those guys are alright, but they'd be nowhere without the musical contributions of one man: Muddy Waters.
Nicknamed for the mighty Mississippi (on the banks of which he was born), Muddy Waters was the vital link between the primal grit of country blues and the cosmopolitan sophistication of electric blues. The Mud brought the Delta with him everywhere he went, making his way from Clarksdale to Chicago where his recordings for the Chess label became some of the most influential blues music of all time. When he plugged in, he started a revolution, and by the '60s every self-respecting guitar player was wearing out copies of Muddy's records trying to cop his style. The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin - everybody covered him. It was mandatory.
But here it is straight from the source. Taped at the Fillmore Auditorium in the fall of 1966, this is Muddy's electric band in all its swaggering glory. Boogying guitar and shuffling drums provide the bedrock for Muddy's husky bellowing as he delivers classics like "You Can't Lose What You Never Had" and "Baby Please Don't Go." The tempo of this set may be a little slow for those accustomed to modern "blues," but this is how it was meant to be played - loose and meandering.
The blues genre has suffered over the years as musicians mistake simplicity of form for lack of creativity. But at its best it is a dynamic and incredibly emotive form. Proceed carefully - after hearing this show, all those Kenny Wayne Shepard records may become obsolete.