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Real Folk Blues / More Real Folk Blues
Muddy Waters
Real Folk Blues / More Real Folk Blues
Genres: Blues, Pop
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #1

McKinley Morganfield was hardly the name for a blues giant, let alone one whose influence spread far beyond boundaries of age, geography, and genre. So Muddy Waters it became, a moniker that both epitomized his Delta roots...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Muddy Waters
Title: Real Folk Blues / More Real Folk Blues
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Chess
Original Release Date: 1/1/1947
Re-Release Date: 3/12/2002
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Blues, Pop
Styles: Chicago Blues, Delta Blues, Traditional Blues, Electric Blues, Slide Guitar
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 008811282226, 0008811282226

McKinley Morganfield was hardly the name for a blues giant, let alone one whose influence spread far beyond boundaries of age, geography, and genre. So Muddy Waters it became, a moniker that both epitomized his Delta roots and the troubled moral climate of his age. Deconstruct Waters's music--the Son House-inspired slide work; a jazzman's innate phrasing and sense of timing; a voice that was weary, wise, and dignified all at once--and it won't come close to the mere sum of its parts. Better to listen as this collection (whose original 1966-67 albums sought to cash in on a waning folk movement) bounces from "Mannish Boy" (his potent response to Chess Records labelmate Bo Diddley's copping his style for "I'm a Man") across 15 years of his history with Chess and his deep Delta roots, including early, stripped-down reworkings of Robert Johnson ("Walkin' Blues," "Kind Hearted Woman") and the roots classic "Rollin' and Tumblin'" to the smoky jazz-blues of "The Same Thing," Willie Dixon's 1964 reworking of his classic, "Spoonful." The material from the '40s often features Waters accompanied only by Ernest "Big" Crawford on bass, music as elementally pure as Waters ever recorded. It's arguably the only collection of the Real Folk Blues series (which also includes titles by John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, and Sonny Boy Williamson) that really lives up to its "folk blues" billing. More than a mere greatest-hits introduction, the albums compiled here often capture the rare, naked essence of Waters' soulful muse. --Jerry McCulley

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CD Reviews

Great music, somewhat obsolete compilation
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 08/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The two "Real Folk Blues" albums was issued on one CD in 1999, eliminating the need to seek them out individually.
They contain tracks from Muddy Waters' years with Chess, most of them early recordings from the 40s and early 50s, plus a handful of later songs (including "The Same Thing" and "You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had", two numbers which also show up on the CD version of Muddy's "Folk Singer" album). And everything is really good. Well, the sound is not all that stellar, but what do you expect from 60-year-old waxings?

The only problem (if you will) is that almost all of these songs can be found on MCA's "main" Muddy Waters-compilations, particularly the double disc "Anthology" and the Chess Box, and those also include all of his best-known songs ("Hoochie Coochie Man", "I Want To Be Loved", "Got My Mojo Working", you know). Those would be a much better purchase for the fan who is looking for a comprehensive Muddy Waters-collection, and there are not quite enough rarities here to make this disc particularly interesting for the collector either.

You should be aware that the dozen songs on "The Real Folk Blues" weren't recorded especially for this album, but merely compiled from various sessions, and although some of this material is early acoustic stuff, tough electric numbers like "Mannish Boy" and "Walking Through The Park" are not excactly folkish.
But there's no arguing with the quality of this music. A mixed bag of Chess sides recorde between 1949 and 1954, "The Real Folk Blues" rounds up some of Muddy's first commercial recordings with just bassist Ernest "Big" Crawford for company, as well as a handful of terrific mid-50s electric sides including the aforementioned "Mannish Boy" and "Walking Through The Park", the hit singles "Forty Days And Forty Nights" and "You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had", and the classic "Just To Be With You" (you know, the one that starts with the line "On a ship that's made of paper...").
Willie Dixon's "The Same Thing" is another highlight, as are Muddy's sparse early renditions of "Walking Blues" and "Rollin' And Tumblin'", and the wonderful "Gypsy Woman" with Sunnyland Slim on the piano. The rare "Canary Bird", an early waxing lifted from Sonny Boy Williamson's "Bluebird Blues", pops up as well.

Recorded between 1948 and 1952, the 12 songs on "More Real Folk Blues" include several highlights: Drummer Elgin Evans plays a supremely tough cut-and-shuffle rhythm on "She's Alright" (one of only two songs to feature a full band, including a drummer), and Little Walter's chromatic harp smoulders on "You're Gonna Need My Help" and burns a hole right through "Landlady".
Muddy shamelessly credits a really good rendition of Robert Johnson's "Kindhearted Woman" to himself, his electric slide guitar is howling on the great slow "Sad Letter Blues", and "Train Fare Home", "Sittin' Here Drinking'", "Too Young To Know", and "Honey Bee" are among his best early country blues. Just remember not to trust the credits too or two songs feature a harmonica player who has mysteriously disappered from the credits (it must be either Little Walter or Jimmy Rogers, who started out as a harpist in the first Muddy Waters Band), and the liner notes are not the greatest ever. But the music is top-notch.

If you only have the Chess Box or one or two of MCA/Chess's other compilations, you won't have the electric "Screamin' And Cryin'" or the sparse, band-less numbers "Canary Bird", "Appealing Blues", Muddy's take on "Walkin' Blues" and one or two others. But you're gonna get a LOT of stuff that you already own in order to get that handful of songs, none of which are a must-own, and the listener who wants more early Muddy than what can be heard on the first disc of the Chess Box will be much more satisfied with the double-disc "Rollin' Stone: The Golden Anniversary Collection". Most others should look in the direction of MCA/Chess's "His Best", "The Anthology 1947-1972", or "The Chess Box"."
Classic Muddy Waters
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 09/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"While "The Real Folk Blues" and "More Real Folk Blues" were initially released in 1966 and 1967 respectively, the bulk of these tracks were cut at the Chess studios in Chicago between 1947 and 1958 when Waters was at his peak. In fact, only two tracks were recorded outside that time frame: "The Same Thing" and "You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had," both from 1964.These albums were initially released in an attempt to reach the white audience enamored by the burgeoning folk scene. But don't be fooled. This is a collection of Water's Chess singles dating all the way back to his first Aristocrat single, 1947's "Gypsy Woman."Nearly half of these songs feature Waters on guitar with only Ernest "Big" Crawford backing him up on bass. The rest of the tracks have Waters playing with a small combo featuring piano (Otis Spann), harmonica (Little Walter, Junior Wells or James Cotton), a second guitar (including Jimmy Rogers), bass (including Willie Dixon), and drums.Most of these are original songs, but Waters pays tribute to Robert Johnson on a pair of songs, "Kind Hearted Woman" from 1948 and "Walkin Blues" from 1950.Crawdaddy Magazine writer Paul Williams says in the original liner notes: "...blues is happy music, an escape from sadness...when Muddy sings, you feel the blues, and you feel the joy that goes with them." That may fly in the face of everything you thought you know about the blues. But when you put this in your CD player, you'll know he's speaking the truth. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"
The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues
Steve Vrana | 02/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This IS the real stuff...Muddy Waters et al at their best. Many of the songs, especially "Mannish Boy", sound like they were recorded in acoustically undesireable surroundings (like a barroom, maybe). But, this only adds to the authenticity of the sound. In fact, a barroom is THE place where this music was intended to be best performed.
The album can be enjoyed at all levels of listening. Listen casually and enjoy the sheer sensuosness of the vocals and instrumentals. Or, listen carefully and discover the amazingly complex nuances of the music (as complicated as any classical music). This is an album you will not regret owning."