.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/f620a58b370b06be6b857a5a0d0e8f77f4a7e5ae.jpeg Hard Again

Muddy Waters

Hard Again

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
March 24, 1977

Blue Sky Grabbed Muddy Waters just as Chess Records virtually put him out to pasture. For the first time in 30 years, Muddy has new blood backing his recording ventures. He sounds happy, energetic and out for business: in short, Muddy Waters is kicking in another mule's stall.

Waters has written six new tunes for the album, marking the end of a long dry spell, but his standards and one old Willie Dixon tune rock the hardest. "Mannish Boy" (a close relation to "I'm a Man") sounds almost live, with Johnny Winter's piercing guitar and James Cotton's wide-mouthed harp attack. Winter screams in the background as Muddy sings the lyrics with a liberal dose of shouting and carrying on. It's a far cry indeed from the last time he recorded the song — psychedelic and funky — for Chess in the late Sixties.

The album conveys the feeling of reaffirmation throughout. "I Can't Be Satisfied," one of his oldest tunes, is carried largely by Winter, spotlighted on acoustic slide. Though the pale bluesman plays a hair too fast in spots, he's on his best behavior and stays away from excesses of raunch in favor of clean, well-thought out ideas. Willie Smith's drumming is recorded up front, his cymbal socks sounding inscrutably bluesy.

Waters doesn't play his Telecaster much, but with Winter and Bob Margolin (from Waters' road band) in the wings, he takes an improbable slide solo on "Deep Down in Florida." He rambles up to some high notes, hits a clinker and, unperturbed, resumes singing about Florida, where the sun shines "damn near every day."

James Cotton is all over the album, which makes me wonder why Blue Sky doesn't continue re-recording Muddy with as many of his old sidemen as they can find. Bring Buddy Guy in for the next album and I'd guarantee Buddy cuts his best work in years.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Promiscuous”

    Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

    This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com