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Sings Big Bill Broonzy/Folk Singer
Muddy Waters
Sings Big Bill Broonzy/Folk Singer
Genres: Blues, Pop, Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1

Two Original 60s Chess LPs Reissued on One CD. 'Sings Big Bill' is a Tribute to Big Bill Broonzy and Folk Singer is an all Acoustic Session with Buddy Guy on Guitar and Willie Dixon on Bass. Remastered.

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Muddy Waters
Title: Sings Big Bill Broonzy/Folk Singer
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Bgo - Beat Goes on
Release Date: 4/8/1997
Album Type: Original recording remastered, Import
Genres: Blues, Pop, Rock
Styles: Chicago Blues, Delta Blues, Traditional Blues, Electric Blues, Slide Guitar
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1

Synopsis

Album Details
Two Original 60s Chess LPs Reissued on One CD. 'Sings Big Bill' is a Tribute to Big Bill Broonzy and Folk Singer is an all Acoustic Session with Buddy Guy on Guitar and Willie Dixon on Bass. Remastered.

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CD Reviews

Muddy Hits Broonzy Tunes
Docendo Discimus | 02/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The songs on 'Folk Singer,' the second half of this two-fer, are spare arrangements of Muddy doing classic material on acoustic guitar. He really captures the loneliness of the drifter with 'My Home is in the Delta,' my favorite of these tunes. The rest are a little sleepy, in my opinion, and they really suffer by comparison with the terrific covers of Broonzy tunes which precede them on this two-fer disc. The Broonzy covers have a lot more energy, and can almost be considered a bit rowdy. The backing group is solid and Muddy is right on the money. I recommend it on the quality of the Broonzy tunes alone."
Buy it for the Broonzy
B. PERKINS | Denton, TX United States | 08/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill Broonzy is my favorite studio blues album for several reasons. To begin with, even though Muddy Waters is singing Broonzy's traditional Delta blues, Waters proves that he was the one who first electrified the blues; the guitar work is outstanding, but never superfluous. Backing him on harmonica is Little Walter, the only musician I've ever heard who could make a harmonica speak. Put them both together, and even the album's lightest song, "Hey, Hey," is rock solid. As for the vocal performances, Waters was never in better form. His voice quivers on "How Long;" it threatens on "When I Get to Thinking." And as for the material, there's really not a bad song on the album. "I Feel So Good" became one of Muddy's concert standards, and the rest of the playlist reads like a greatest hits compilation--"Southbound Train," "Double Trouble," and "Lonesome Road Blues," to name a few. I really can't say much for _Folk_Singer_, other than the fact that it was a transparent attempt to cash in on a trend. However, Waters is ably backed on this second disk; you can't get much better than Willie Dixon playing stand-up bass. Anyway you slice it, this is five stars."
The only way to get Muddy's tribute to Big Bill Broonzy
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 08/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Muddy Waters' tribute LP to his late mentor William "Big Bill" Broonzy, which originally came out in 1959, is currently available only in this twofer-package with Muddy's acoustic "Folk Singer" album from 1964.

That's a shame, not because "Folk Singer" is a bad album which nobody in their right mind would buy, but because the latest CD reissue of "Folk Singer", which features several bonus tracks, is better than the one which takes up half of this CD.

But serious Muddy-fans will want to get it anyway. Subtitled "The Songs Of Big Bill Broonzy", "Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill", is a brief affair, only half an hour, but Muddy's electric recasting of Big Bill Broonzy's usually acoustic numbers is generally very effective.
Recorded in stereo with harpist James Cotton, piano player Otis Spann, guitarist Auburn "Pat" Hare, drummer Francis Clay, and bass player Andrew Stephenson, "Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill" was originally issued on CD in 1986, but this 1998 remastering outclasses it by a mile. It restores the resonance of the rhythm section, and Muddy's powerful voice leaps right out at you.

Highlights include "Just A Dream", a wonderfully tough rendition of "Tell Me Baby" (tremendous vocal by Muddy), the swaggering slow grind of "When I Get To Thinking", the muscular shuffle of "Baby I Done Got Wise", and of course the classic "I Feel So Good".
But there are really no "lowlights" here. The music is perhaps a little too mannered for its own good...it's very tight and structured, and a bit more recklessness would be quite nice. But there is nothing wrong with Muddy's performance at all, and Otis Spann and James Cotton are (obviously) top-notch, even if they don't get to shine quite as brightly as I would have liked on these relatively short numbers.
The drumming of Francis Clayton, on the other hand, is exceptionally powerful and rather more prominent in the mix than on most 50s blues recordings.

New liner notes are provided, along with a reprint of the original LP jacket, and while there is no session information (bad record company!), the notes do provide insights into the thinking behind the two albums and Muddy's approach to them, as well as the mixed critical reaction at the time. Apparently younger (white) blues fans felt that Muddy Waters' renditions of Bill Broonzy's songs were "inauthentic".
I see...

That the "Folk Singer" album is presented in reverse order is weird (side two of the original LP comes before side one), but the Beat Goes On label's mastering on those nine tracks is excellent, bright and punchy.
I always though that "Folk Singer" would have worked better if Muddy had done a few more up-tempo songs, and the arrangements are sometimes too lean, causing a couple of these v-e-r-y slow song to almost stall (Muddy's earliest recordings were actually considerably tougher).

But it's not a bad record by any strecht of the imagination, and even though the 15-track MCA/Chess reissue is significantly better, the original nine-track LP had a lot going for it as well.
The slide guitar-driven numbers "Country Boy" and "Long Distance Call", and the lively take on "Good Morning Little School Girl" are the best, but "Folk Singer" also sports good versions of "You Gonna Need My Help", "Feel Like Going Home", and "Big Leg Woman" are quite nice as well, if a bit too similar in their approach.

Get it. For "Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill" in particular."