Album no. 29/1001
Muddy Waters is one of those seminal names in blues music – and one of the first big guitar legends. Old mate Ned was REALLY excited about listening to this – it’s definitely his jams.
Anyway, this is the second album on this list to have been recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival – the first was Mr Duke Ellington – and it sounded like a pretty wild party. People were drunk, there were riots and overcrowding and supposedly the National Guard were called in to control the “boisterous spectators”. There was also a rival jazz festival going on a few blocks away by fellow jazz musicians Charles Mingus and Max Roach. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: I have not. I don’t know much about Mr Waters.
NK: I’ve never heard this. A friend gave me a best of, King of the Electric Blues I think? Pretty keen though.
CL: ‘Tiger in Your Tank’ is gooood. Probably because it’s the only one where the drummer actually gets to pick up some speed. I really liked this one – it’s the only song I’ve come back to. Oh wait, ‘I’ve Got My Mojo Working’ takes it to another level! ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ is alright. This is the original version, but I think we can all agree Them did a much better job. Sorry about that Muddy – but there’s lots of other good stuff on this!
NK: Tough call. I think it has to be ‘I’ve Got My Mojo Working’. ‘Tiger In Your Tank’ and ‘I Feel So Good’ are pretty great as well though. I didn’t mind this version of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, but I think I agree with you about Them. I really enjoyed this. It really does build to some pretty intense playing. The harmonica and the piano stand out more than the guitar, but by halfway through everyone is in sync and they’re kicking out the jams.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: This album really picks up about halfway through – feel free to just plonk on the first half when you’re doing something boring, but then get ready to “get down” from track 5 onwards. The audience bloody love it as well. This Newport Jazz Festival sounds like it was the place to be in 1960.
NK: Definitely when you want to build up to something. It starts out pretty steady, but it’s properly rocking for pretty much the whole second half.
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: Probably because it would’ve been an insanely good live show. This was recorded live and seriously, the musicianship is outstanding. It’s also had a pretty significant influence on almost every rock and roll record released afterwards.
NK: It’s the blues! This where the Rolling Stones got their stuff (and Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, etc). Listen to that crowd, they’re into it. Imagine you’ve been listening to the Everly brothers and then your weird friend gives you this. This sounds like it’s from another planet compared to that. Being live helps, but still, the raw energy is something else.
Will you be listening again?
CL: I’m really surprised because bluesy stuff is so not my jams, but halfway through I was loving it! I reckon I will definitely keep it in my musical library. I actually went back and listened to this again – mostly because when this album finished the next one that played was Mumford and Sons. No thanks.
NK: Yeah, it’s really good.