Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters

Electric Mud

Third Man Records

Muddy Waters had been a recording artist in some fashion since the early 1940s, but by 1968 the market for the blues had waned, and Muddy (and his record company) longed for another smash. So, Chess Records co-founder Marshall Chess decided to put the blues pioneer into the studio with Rotary Connection, a psychedelic band he had signed to Chess. The result is Electric Mud, now billed as “the most controversial blues album ever!”

Electric Mud consists of some of Waters’ biggest songs – “I Just Wanna Make Love to You”, “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “I’m A Man” and more, and for his part, Muddy sounds great, vocally. But musically, well…Rotary Connection, which featured guitarists Phil Upchurch and latter-day Miles Davis guitarist Pete Cosey, goes all Haight-Asbury on the blues, and the 8 tracks here sounds a bit like Muddy singing with a hippy rock band. Waters derided the sound – the guitar sounded like “a cat’s meow” and the drums were “too busy” – both true, but fast forward to 2017, and this record has had a new life. Over the years it’s been praised by acts such as the Gorillaz (who sampled “I’m A Man”) and Cypress Hill, and despite it not being very much of a “blues” album, it pre-dated the “stoner rock” sound. You can’t really imagine acts such as Kyuss or Fu Manchu sounded as they do without the legacy of Electric Mud.

The record did achieve its purpose, selling 150,000 copies within 6 weeks of release, and giving Waters (and Chess Records) a much-needed hit. Marshall Chess tried it again with Howlin’ Wolf (who absolutely hated the result – The Howlin’ Wolf Record), and it wasn’t until the collaborations with Johnny Winter near the end of his career that Muddy ever achieved such sales again, but for hard-core blues fans, Electric Mud is at best a side-note in the career of Muddy Waters. But it has its appeal, and shows just how strong Muddy’s songs and voice were, despite the record sounding a bit like the soundtrack to all those ‘freaked out hippie” movies. Dig it, baby. Dig it.

www.thirdmanrecords.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

  • Demons/Demons 2
    Demons/Demons 2

    Synapse Films reissues Lamberto Bava’s epic ’80s gore-filled movies Demons and Demons 2 in beautiful new editions.

  • Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson
    Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson

    Searching for the Disappearing Hour (Pyroclastic Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

From the Archives