This tribute album breaks no new ground but does a superb job of re-creating the Chicago ensemble sound, as well as the songs, of the latter-day Muddy Waters Band. That comes as no surprise, since the core group here literally was Muddy Waters' backup unit from 1974 to 1980: Bob Margolin and Luther "Guitar Jr" Johnson on guitars, Pinetop Perkins on piano, Jerry Portnoy on harp, Calvin Jones on bass, and Willie Smith on drums. Each of these Muddy alumni takes a vocal turn (Margolin takes two). While none of them matches the majesty of Muddy's voice, they certainly have the spirit of the thing down pat. A welcome note of variety is provided by the guest vocalists from the blues and rock world, who also stay very close to the Muddy Waters originals they cover: Greg Allman on "Trouble No More," Buddy Guy on "Clouds in My Heart," Levon Helm on "Going to Main Street," James Cotton (another ex-Muddy bandmate) on "Blow Wind Blow," Koko Taylor on "Mean Mistreater," and Peter Wolf on "Walking Through the Park."
Jethro Tull's 11th studio album, Heavy Horses, is one of their prettier records, a veritable celebration of English folk music chock-full of gorgeous melodies, briskly played acoustic guitars and mandolins, and Ian Anderson's lilting flute backed by the group in top form. 2018's 40th Anniversary "New Shoes Edition" is a three-CD/two-DVD box packaged similarly to the anniversary versions of Aqualung, Thick as a Brick, Minstrel in the Gallery and Songs from the Wood. It includes a Steven Wilson stereo remix of the album and nine "associated studio recordings" – seven on the first disc are previously unreleased – and a 1978 concert from Berne, Switzerland spread across discs two and three, remixed by King Crimson's Jakko M. Jakszyk. The two DVDs feature 97 audio and video tracks, with studio work (including bonus tracks) remixed to 5.1 (and stereo) by Wilson, with the live material handled by Jakszyk. The latter two discs also include a flat transfer of the original album's mix, some promotional video footage, and two period television ads.
Kenny Chesney treats his first-ever live album as a celebration, collecting 29 highlights recorded at some point over the 2010s. By casting such a wide net, Chesney has plenty of room for covers and cameos in addition to the hits, but it's also telling that Live in No Shoes Nation concentrates on all the music he's made following the release of 2001's Greatest Hits. Starting with 2001's No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems, he's hit his sunny stride, specializing in mellow beach tunes, slightly sad ballads, drinking tunes, and arena anthems, all of which are featured on this double-disc set. If the crowd noise sometimes seems a bit heavy-handed, the roar underscores how Chesney entertains on a mass scale, and that's perhaps the one revelation of the record: based on this, calling his fan base a nation isn't much of an exaggeration. While Live in No Shoes Nation is quite slick in both its performance and production, part of its charm is that it's such a professional affair.