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On January 26, 2018, MIG Music starts the new year with a sensational Rockpalast recording of blues heavyweight Muddy Waters. In December 1978, at the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, the “Hoochie Coochie Man” was still at the height of his creative power. Nobody would have foreseen that only five years after, he would meet his maker. On that evening McKinley Morganfield, so his real name, made once again clear why so many rock stars saw him as the father of modern blues. His mighty vocals and his splendid style on stage fascinated the audience. Muddy’s guitar playing on the Fender Telecaster especially comes into full effect with his typical slow blues solos – and seldom had Muddy such a hot sound as in this TV recording of the WDR. The song selection of the evening consisted of several of his biggest hits, but also of less performed titles.

Muddy Waters had a great ear for talent and accordingly nearly always an excellent backing band. But the band accompanying him from 1974 to 1980 that you hear on the DVD was one of the very best: the pianist Pinetop Perkins, drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, bass player Calvin Jones, the two guitarists Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson and Bob Margolin, and harmonica player Jerry Portnoy. Permanent touring turned this crew into a well-oiled machine supporting their charismatic leader in the best way.

As a bonus the box set contains a recording of the Muddy Waters Tribute Band during a Rockpalast Open Air at the Loreley in summer 1996, where all the still living (and healthy) members of Muddy’s old band came together, each of them sang a couple of songs. Except “Gone To Main Street” where The Band’s Levon Helm takes over the microphone as guest vocalist. The band had always had a special relationship with Muddy Waters who had also made a memorable and exceptional guest appearance in their film “The Last Waltz”.

 

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