Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

MUD MORGANFIELD & KIM WILSON

FOR POPS-A TRIBUTE TO MUDDY WATERS

2014-09-21

It's always tough to take on the music of someone as revered as Muddy Waters. As an initial matter, the songs are so well known and so widely available that there's really no compelling reason to simply re-do them. To escape that trap, many tribute discs change up the arrangements or instrumentation in an effort to pay homage to the spirit of the original while not being enslaved by it. That then leads to the inevitable comparison to the original version and a chorus of criticism for messing with the perfect original! So do you let the originals become museum pieces or do you take them on despite the peril of a potential wrong move? This disc featuring Mud Morganfield on vocals, Kim Wilson on harmonica, Billy Flynn and Rusty Zinn on guitars, Barrelhouse Chuck on piano, Steve Gomes on bass, Robb Stupka on drums avoids both traps by not only featuring solid readings of the originals but by skipping Muddy's most notable tunes in favor of ones that are terrific but not played by every blues cover band in the universe. While you still get "Nineteen Years Old", "I Want to Be Loved", "I Just Want to Make Love To You" and "She Moves Me", there's also under the radar gems like "My Dog Can't Bark", "Gone to Main Street", "I Love the Life I Live, I Live the Life I Love", "Blow Wind Blow" and a host of others. In addition to the wise selection of tunes, this crew has the added advantage of Mud Morganfield's uncanny vocal resemblance to his father, right down to the guttural moans and buoyant turn of a phrase. Coupling that with Kim Wilson's spot on harmonica work and the band's straight out of the South Side of Chicago chops and you've got one pretty fine release that you could tuck into your Muddy Waters rotation and maybe use to turn someone on to a slice of blues history that they may not have heard before. SMITTY

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