Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live [Deluxe Edition]

by: Muddy Waters

In its original edition as a 1979 live album, Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live was a pleasing but inessential adddition to the great bluesman's catalog. The classic versions of most of the numbers from Waters' live set at the time are found on much earlier studio recordings, and there are better Waters live recordings as well. All that taken into account, it's questionable as to whether a two-CD expanded deluxe edition of the release was hungered after by many listeners. But the tapes were out there, and in 2003 here it came, the first CD being just a straight reissue of the 1979 LP, the second disc including no less than an hour of additional music. All of the music on disc two was previously unreleased, and all of it was recorded at the same August 1978 shows that yielded the bulk of the original LP. It's the second disc, naturally, that will hold the most interest for Waters fans, and it shares both the assets and shortcomings of the material on disc one. In its favor, these are good performances with good backup musicians, including Johnny Winter, Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, and Bob Margolin on guitars, James Cotton on harmonica, and Pinetop Perkins on piano. To its detriment, most of the songs are old chestnuts available in more memorable studio versions and in some cases other live Waters recordings, including "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Got My Mojo Workin'," and "Mannish Boy." There are a few songs that aren't as commonly available by Waters in live variations, like "Champagne and Reefer," performed here prior to its release on King Bee (with Waters stumbling on some of the lyrics); the traditional "Corrina, Corrina"; an "After Hours"/"Stormy Monday Blues" medley; "Kansas City," on which vocals are shared by Waters and Perkins; and "Trouble No More," which according to Margolin's liner notes "is one of the very few live versions of this song." Still, overall this is fairly far down on the pecking order of Waters albums, live or otherwise. ~ Richie Unterberger

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