Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down

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Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down

Postby blueswriter » Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:50 pm

Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter & James Cotton
Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down
Epic/Legacy (2007) 072832

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11 tracks, 59 minutes, highly recommended. There should be little doubt that Muddy Waters played a major role in setting blues on a new path in the late 1940s. While often credited as being solely responsible for causing a large shift in the way blues was presented, Muddy was among a number of artists who moved with the times and saw amplifiers as a newer beginning for blues. Some thirty years later, Waters began enjoying a resurgence in his career by recording with Johnny Winter at the helm. In recent years, the material Muddy recorded for Winter's Blue Sky label has been remastered with a handful of bonus tracks, including the fabulous Muddy "Mississippi" Waters - Live, formerly a single disc, now an expanded 2-CD set with the second disc being previously unissued material. Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down now offers another look at Muddy Waters in a 'live' setting with a crack band that featured talent across the board. As much as this adds to the legacy of Muddy, it also details how potent an outfit Winter, James Cotton, and Waters made sharing the stage. In addition to the trio of dangerous frontmen, the band has Bob Margolin, Pinetop Perkins, Charles Calmese, and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith in tow providing superb rhythmic support. All previously unreleased and recorded at three venues in March of 1977, Muddy, Johnny and James split vocal chores with Waters handing in a brilliant Can't Be Satisfied as well as sharing the duties for Black Cat Bone/Dust My Broom, Caldonia, Got My Mojo Workin' and Trouble No More. Cotton steps up on Dealin' With The Devil, Rocket 88 and How Long Can A Fool Go Wrong with Winter front and center for Guitar Slim's I Done Got Over It, J.B. Lenoir's Mama Talk To Your Daughter and Tampa Red's Love Her With A Feeling. Missing is Muddy's slashing slide guitar work but Winter adds plenty of flash while Cotton blows some seriously strong harp throughout. As Bob Margolin points out in his liner notes, these were special times for Muddy and the band. For those who missed seeing this powerful aggregation during their 1977 tour, Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down is indeed special. Don't miss this.

Legacy Recordings

© 2007 by Craig Ruskey
Last edited by blueswriter on Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby stumblin » Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:51 pm

I'll order that this weekend, it sounds like an awesome album.
There I was thinking that all of Muddy's recorded material had already been released. I wonder what else has been kept from the public so far?
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Postby blueswriter » Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:13 pm

stumblin wrote:... There I was thinking that all of Muddy's recorded material had already been released. I wonder what else has been kept from the public so far?


Hard to say. With Epic already having fleshed out Muddy "Mississippi" Waters - Live by over an hour, and with the bonus tracks available on the remastered Blue Sky titles (Hard Again/I'm Ready/King Bee) and this new one, I'm pretty sure they've gone through most of what's good enough for issue. Bob Margolin's liner notes here point out some of the difficulty in getting this together. Muddy, Winter and Cotton would use any microphone on stage (not just the ones assigned to them) so mixing this was touchy. I've got bootleg material on CD from a couple other shows during this tour (Boston - which I attended and the Tower Theater in PA), and while they sound fine, I'm not sure what exists for multi-track tape. I'd be happy to see more of this even if the recording quality were less than pristine. It's a rare chance to hear them together and I'm sure a lot of folks listening to blues today weren't of age to see any of the shows thirty years ago.
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