Recorded in January of 1977 at Montreal’s legendary Rising Sun Celebrity Jazz Club, the record features some of Muddy’s greatest bandmates, including Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson and “Steady Rollin’” Bob Margolin on guitar, Jerry Portnoy on harmonica, Pinetop Perkins on piano, along with Calvin Jones on bass and Willie Smith on drums. The band are terrific throughout which is why it is no surprise that they, like many others, went on to have outside recognition after playing with Muddy’s band. The standout track is an 11 minute version of the classic, “Kansas City,” in which Muddy shares vocals with Perkins.
Chicago was the city blues made its home - and Chess Records was the imprint on which so many seminal recordings emerged. Brothers Leonard and Phil Chess were not from the deep South, from where the likes of Howlin' Wolf had travelled to this musical hotbed, but of Polish immigrant stock. The eponumous record label they founded would prove a driving force in the rise of the blues in the Fifties.
This is a three classic albums CD box set with the original artworked 'mini LP' CD wallets in deluxe packaging. It contains the albums "Hard Again", "I'm Ready" and "King Bee".
One could definitely argue that this 16-track album doesn't in fact contain the best of Muddy Waters since it lacks any of his template-setting and explosive 1950s sides from Chess Records, being compiled instead from Waters' late-'70s and early-'80s output on the Blue Sky label with Johnny Winter in the producer's chair. No, the Chess tracks are the ones to get first, but the Blue Sky material makes for a nice addendum, featuring a slightly more refined sound that allows each song to develop easily and naturally. Highlights include a wonderfully ragged and loose acoustic do-over of "I Can't Be Satisfied," a sturdy "Good Morning Little School Girl," and a copycat but still fun version of Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee."Steve Leggett - All Music