Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
One of the greatest blues albums I have ever heard.
greg taylor | Portland, Oregon United States | 12/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a music collector you know that there are certain albums that you never tire of hearing. From the first time you heard them to your most recent hearing, they help define the possibilities inherent in great music. This is definitely such an album for me. I lucked upon it back in 1967 and have gone through both an LP and CD version of it.
This is the deep blues featuring arguably Chicago's greatest blues pianist playing with one of the best bands Muddy Waters ever fronted. Besides Otis and Muddy(who only plays on a few tracks) the band features Sammy Lawhorn on one lead guitar, Luther Georgia Boy Snake Johnson on the other lead, Mac Arnold on the electric bass, Francis Clay on the drums and George Smith on the harmonica. If you know anything about the history of the Chicago blues in the sixties, all of these names should be familiar. These guys are great individual players and a great tight band. This is the quintessential Chicago sound. These guys know when to fill, when to lay out and when to just plain let it all out. They can solo for two measures or take their time. This is an almost perfect blues band. At the center of the sound is Otis with his great soulful voice and his wonderful playing. One thing I love about the way he played the blues piano is the way he lives on the bottom end. Listen to his solo on the great ending instrumental, Spann's Blues. He starts low on the keyboard, never lets the sound get murky and plays a solo that sounds like no other I have ever heard. This man is elemental American soul and he should be (along with Muddy, of course) better known. Heck, we should teaching his music (along with Ives, Hank Williams, Robert Johnson, Mingus and so many others) in high schools.
Other highlights of this album include Nobody Knows Chicago Like I Do, Down on Sarah Street, T'Aint Nobody's Biziness If I Do (listen to how Otis fills in behind Sammy Lawhorn during Mr. Lawhorn's short sweet solo), and My Home Is On The Delta. But really, there aren't any off numbers on this CD- these guys are way too professional for that.
One last thing- this was recorded with an audience in the studio. You can hear clapping between the songs and you hear them yell out requests (e.g., just before Nobody's Biziness). It sounds as if everybody was having a great time. I have been listening to this disc for almost thirty-five years now. I always have a great time doing so. What more can I tell you?"
The Real Deal
James Higgins | Hyde Park, MA United States | 10/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you want a "must have" blues record by one of the originals (with all original accompanyment), by all means this is for you. Every song is a gem. Otis Spann was one of the great blues pianists. He played with Muddy Waters for years but when he takes center stage, he can give any bluesman a run for their money. Everything about this record is just great. It is so good that I would give it 10 stars. Every song is a gem and they seem to flow into each other like magic. It all sounds like a mini-concert in the studio. It has the feel of being done in one take with appropriate appreciation from the studio audence in between songs. They even call out a request. Every person in the band is right on; the right note and the right feel at the right time. The only problem with this album is that it is TOO SHORT. It's like one of those great books you read where you don't want it too end."
Really good date but flawed production
R. Weinstock | Falls Church, VA USA | 01/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Musically this is wonderful. A party like audience in the studio and Otis Spann singing and playing at the top of his game with the Muddy Waters band backing him. But they did not record George 'Harmonica' Smith playing his harp through an amp and one could only imagine how muuch more bite the music would have had if they had. I have had this since it first came out on record and other than the flaw it is real good."