Muddy Waters 100

John Primer & Friends

Raisin’ Music Records , 2015

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Muddy Waters was one of the most influential musicians in American history. He helped electrify the blues, which provided a key element in the development of rock ‘n’ roll. 2015 marks the centennial of his birth. To celebrate this landmark, former Muddy Waters sideman John Primer and a number of his friends have issued an album of 15 covers of many of Waters classic tunes titled Muddy Waters 100.

There are always good points and bad points to cover albums. Primer (another former sideman), Bob Margolin, Derek Trucks, Johnny Winter, James Cotton, Gary Clark Jr., and still more others are disciples of Waters and they all bring their passion to the music, giving it authenticity. One negative is while many of the covers are traditional, there is some modernization that seems out of place – for example, the drum loops. There is also the fact that no matter how good the covers may be, the originals are superior and available. Still, just about any Muddy Waters song in the right setting and played competently deserves a listen.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

John Primer is a good blues vocalist and when accompanied by a technically adept slide guitarist, he produces music that brings Waters sound into the 21st century. “Still A Fool” with Derek Trucks, “I Be’s Troubled” with Bob Margolin, and “I’m Ready” with Johnny Winter, which was recorded five weeks before Waters’ death, have an energy and passion.

“Rosalie” was an old field recording from 1942 by the Son Sims Four, which included Muddy Waters. It is presented traditionally with Steve Gibbons playing the Fiddle part originally created by Sims. “Why Don’t You Live So God Can Use You” is another 1942 field recording, which may be his only gospel composition. It is another traditional take spear headed by Primer and Margolin. “Good News” was originally recorded in 1957 and featured James Cotton on harp.  Amazingly, 58 years later, Cotton returns to re-create the song and provide it with an important connection to its past.

The album comes with a 40 page CD-size book, which includes a number of original photos of Water that should please any fan.

Muddy Waters 100 is an album from the heart and is filled with respect. The songs of an American music icon deserve to be heard; then you can move on to the originals.

Rating: B

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© 2015 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Raisin’ Music Records , and is used for informational purposes only.