Down Beat - 4/96, p.554 Stars
- Very Good - "After a remarkable run of almost 30 years, the blues titan bid goodbye to Chess Records in 1975 with this strong recording made in the New York State artists community with help from local luminaries..."
Personnel: Muddy Waters (vocals, guitar); Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins (vocals, piano); Fred Carter (guitar, bass); Bob Margolin (guitar); Garth Hudson (saxophone,accordion, organ); Howard Johnson (saxophone); Paul Butterfield (harmonica); Levon Helm (bass,drums);
Recorded at Bearsville Turtle Creek Studio, Woodstock, New York, February 6 & 7, 1975. Includes liner notes by Chris Morris.
Personnel: Muddy Waters (vocals, guitar); Pinetop Perkins (vocals, piano); Fred Carter, Sammy Lawhorn, Bob Margolin (guitar); Paul Butterfield (harmonica); Garth Hudson (accordion, saxophone, organ, keyboards); Howard Johnson (saxophone); Levon Helm (drums).
Liner Note Author: Christopher Morris.
Recording information: Bearsville Sound Studios, New York, NY.
This is a Muddy Waters album, but it intersects so tightly with the history of the Band, that it should be checked out by any serious fans of the group. Levon Helm -- who is as proud of having made this record and worked with Muddy as he is of any music he's ever made -- produced and played, and Garth Hudson played keyboards on these sessions, which otherwise feature Waters' touring band. The repertory includes several blues and R&B standards, among them "Kansas City" and "Caldonia," of the kind that the Band did on Moondog Matinee, except that these performances are better. Further, the album is a prelude to Waters' presence at The Last Waltz. Indeed, The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album is really a nexus between Moondog Matinee and The Last Waltz, and picks up a broken thread from the group's early history -- The Band had hooked up briefly with Sonny Boy (Rice Miller) Williamson II in Arkansas, and had hoped to record with him, but Williamson died of cancer before they could work together. This late-era Muddy album gave Helm and Hudson a chance to work at Chess before the label closed its doors, with a figure of even greater stature than Williamson. What's more, for the record, it's a great album, a Grammy winner for Muddy and one of Helm and Hudson's more rewarding non-Band projects. ~ Bruce Eder