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Muddy, for the first time

The Complete Plantation Recordings
The Complete Plantation Recordings
By Muddy Waters

Chess / MCA: 1993

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This review first appeared in the January 14, 1994 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

These are the very first recordings ever made by McKinley Morganfield, aka Muddy Waters. Recorded in the early '40s for the Library of Congress, these sides are all acoustic and include in-depth interviews with Waters as well as recordings never before released.

While his trademark singing style had not yet crystallized, what was to come later is clearly present in nascent form on these tracks.

Despite the age of the master tapes and the fairly primitive recording equipment used to make them, the sound quality is pretty darn good. Besides, as with other giants of the blues, like Lightnin' Hopkins or Blind Lemon Jefferson, the music here is so alive, so accessible, that the rough conditions do nothing to lessen the listenability.