Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Muddy Waters - The Chess Box (Chess - CH6 - 80002)

Not much ado about speaking the Blues of Muddy Waters. He has been one of the prominent artists in taking a step forward compared to the classical Blues styles. The bridge in between, that is what he is. Vocal style can easily be accepted as old style (Not Delta though, more of Chicago), but with his electric guitar, he took it to another level while modernizing some of the old classics along the way. Electric Blues as it was called. Of course it is hard to say old school when you are talking about Blues since there is a big distinction between the dates when a song was first originated and when first recorded. As an example, Leadbelly didn't have that many records, yet his repertoire was well over 5.000 songs. It is not hard to guess that most of that knowledge has gone with the wind since those days.

There are many people who claimed that Blues is dead. Well it ain't dead until it's dead, yet the social structure which nurtured Blues has changed drastically. The reasons to write blue songs has waned quite a lot. Yes you can still listen some broken heart song etc, but the social injustice has decreased. Or at least it is not a hegemonia of the AfroAmerican community anymore. There are more people sharing that misery, especially a lot from the Anglo Saxons. It is not a racist thing at least. On the other hand, Country music still lingers on. One thing is that Texans really like it and Texas is huge. Nothing is as big as Texas. And Country music never based it's existence on any struggle. It was mainly love or hate, kiss or kill and a lot of dancing.

Coming back to our subject, Chess records has been a big supported of Blues music and their special efforts in the 1980s resulted in several "Chess Box"es which are really crucial. Apart from Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Willie Dixon have their own boxes as well. However, it is to be noted that the most extensive one is Muddy Waters's, a career spanning 6 LPs.

Whatever you know of Muddy Waters is here. I cannot honestly say that all the versions are the best ones (Especially Mannish Boy), yet it is more than what you can expect (The version of Walkin' Blues is awesome by the way). It is also accompanied by a nice bookish booklet which gets into detail about where he came from, what he did and where he was heading at. Personally I can place my bet on his predecessor to being Ben Harper, but since Harper delved into many things, it is also hard to point out, but no other one sticks out similar to him. All in all, 72 tracks which many are anonymous have found their way into the compilation and offers a loooong Blues listening ceremony. Actually there is an 11 LP box set of Muddy Waters again from Chess records which was released in Japan. Don't know why only in Japan, but that's the way it is. Don't have that one, but one day I will have it. Till then, this ain't one to miss.

To buy this box set:

@ Ebay (Somehow other things also come in, beware)
@ Discogs

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