Best of Muddy Waters: 20th Century Masters

by: Muddy Waters

Like any record company worth their salt, MCA knows a good gimmick when they see it, and when the millennium came around...well, the 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection wasn't too far behind. Supposedly, the millennium is a momentous occasion, but it's hard to feel that way when it's used as another excuse to turn out a budget-line series. But apart from the presumptuous title, 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection turns out to be a very good budget-line series. True, it's impossible for any of these brief collections to be definitive, but they're nevertheless solid samplers that don't feature a bad song in the bunch. For example, take Muddy Waters' 20th Century volume -- it's an irresistible 12-song summary of his Chess recordings. There may be several noteworthy songs missing, but many of his best-known songs for the label are here, including "I Just Want to Make Love to You," "Long Distance Call," "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man," "Honey Bee," "I'm Ready," "Trouble No More," "Mannish Boy," "Rock Me," "Forty Days and Forty Nights," and "Got My Mojo Working." Serious fans will want something more extensive, but this is an excellent introduction for neophytes and a great sampler for casual fans, considering its length and price. That doesn't erase the ridiculousness of the series' title, but the silliness is excusable when the music and the collections are good. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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