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August 1999

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Muddy Waters
The Lost Tapes
Blind Pig

Muddy Waters - The Lost TapesWe usually reserve the Flashback section for reissues or old favorites of mine. But this month we're featuring in this area some "never before released" Muddy Waters live recordings from 1971. And all I can say about the surfacing of The Lost Tapes is, "Hallelujah!"

The performances on this CD were recorded in two concerts at Washington University and Oregon University. Muddy's band on this tour consisted of the excellent George "Harmonica" Smith, pianist Pinetop Perkins, guitarists Sammy Lawhorn and Peewee Madison, bassist Calvin Jones, and drummer Willie Smith. The band is in excellent form, and the sound quality throughout is quite good, almost studio quality.

Muddy plays all of the classics that we've all come to know and love over the years. Among the 10 numbers on the CD are "Honey Bee," "Hoochie Coochie Man," "She's 19 Years Old," "Long Distance Call," "Mannish Boy," and, of course, the set-ending "Got My Mojo Working."

For my money, what really makes this disc stand out is the consistently fine harp playing of Smith. He didn't record as much with Waters as other harmonica players, so it's nice to hear him here, especially on "She's 19 Years Old."

Muddy plays mean slide guitar on "Honey Bee" and "Long Distance Call." No blues artist before or since has ever been able to make a guitar cry like Waters.

This is also an enhanced CD. Pop it into your computer drive, and you can view an interview with Waters and some live concert footage.

We've all heard these songs played by Muddy and his bandmates many times over the years, but it's great to have still another collection from the greatest bluesman ever. In my opinion, The Lost Tapes is an absolutely essential purchase for any halfway serious blues fan.

--- Bill Mitchell

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