Thursday, March 13, 2008

Muddy Waters - Hoochie Coochie Man: Complete Chess Masters, Volume 2 1952-1958 (Hip-O, 2005)

Bluesman Muddy Waters was hitting the peak of his considerable powers during the seven year run at Chess Records chronicled on this set. Joined by legendary sidemen like harmonicist Little Walter Jacobs, pianist Otis Spann and bassist and songwriter Willie Dixon, Waters continued to re-define the blues and provide inspiration to a new generation of musicians on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean who would go on to make their mark in the 1960's. The fifty sides collected here include some of Muddy's most protean performances like the chest thumping anthems "I'm Ready" and the epochal "Hoochie Coochie Man." The wonderful cover of Big Joe Williams "Baby Please Don't Go" is included as well, but really the entire set is a whos-who of classic Chicago blues. Some rarities and b-sides give a more complete view of the development of the music he was producing during this period. This two disc set comes in an oversized cardboard package, with a nice liner essay and some amazing and candid photographs. This is a very well done package, containing some of the finest and most influential music of the 20th century.

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