365 Days of Album Recommendations – Jan 1

Muddy Waters – Rare and Unissued

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This was the first Muddy Waters album I ever heard, and I was staggered by it. At that point in my life—not much past 16 years of age—I had little psychic context to understand music of this caliber, but I’d worked my way back via a right enough path that I think I got it. I’d gone from Clapton, to Cream, to the Yardbirds, to John Mayall. I dug Chuck Berry. I dug Bo Diddley. And then along come Muddy.

Jesus, what a ferociously raw sound this was.

Recommended track to start with: Feel Like Goin’ Home

Why that track? The snap and snarl of it. The muscularity. The gritty poetry of it. The groove. The everything. It just grabs your face and says, I am real. You hear this, or I’ll fuck you up. And then I’ll fuck you up. It’s just so … tough. His voice was incredible. The vibrato, the hums, the mumbles, the tonal changes, the shouts, the grunts … I loved the language of it all … well, it’s late over in the evenin’, and I feel like goin’ on home. I didn’t want to talk like that. I wanted to be someone who talked like that.


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