Hip-O-Select are a specialist division of Universal Music. Unlike its parent company, it sells directly to customers from its website, but increasingly companies like Amazon have sold Hip-O-Select's releases from their own website. This has been good news for UK customers in particular, as we are one of the few countries that cannot order directly from the Hip-O-Select website. If you are interested in Soul/R&B and Blues from the 50's and 60's the company's cd's are going to be right up your street. The releases are usually rare and out of print LP's or double cd's full of unissued masters. The company has released a number of Lost and Found cd's for Motown (Four Tops, Supremes and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas) and also the comprehensive Complete Motown Singles Box sets. The liner notes, although maybe not up to the standard of Ace/Kent records, (but then again, no one else on the market gets even close) effectively paint a background to the music on the cd's and the sound quality is top notch.
The only problem with Hip-O-Select is that they always release their cd's as limited editions. Several cd's of the past now reach ridiculous prices on ebay- the worst offender being the David Ruffin Unreleased album which was only released in 2004. This particular cd is limited to 5000 copies, and although there are quite a few outlets selling the cd at the moment, they won't stay around forever.
Moving on the actual music, well it's Muddy Waters. The mannish boy in his prime, with his brutal delivery and signature sound. Playing with some of Chicago's best musicians, including artists who are still remembered for their own recording careers like Little Walter and Junior Wells. Even the legendary Willie Dixon turns up on bass on a number of these songs.Read more ›
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you need more. At the very least you also need volume one of this series (or at least the tracks on it), plus a selection of mid to late 60's material and a compilation of the Johnny Winter sessions. However, if you're just starting then this is THE place to start.
It goes without saying that the music is brilliant. Here is Muddy at his best, laying down tracks that will become classics and hugely influence British Blues fans like Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and so many more and end up transforming the face of popular music. He is backed by some of his best sidemen ever -Little Walter (harp), Walter Horton (harp), Jimmy Rogers (guitar), the great Otis Spann (piano), Fred Below (drums), and the ever-present on Chess Blues recordings with a finger in every pie Willie Dixon (bass). You can read all about this in the booklet.
And what a booklet, though the word diminishes the actual artifact. This is one of the best presentations of Muddy's music I have ever seen. At first glance, crude and simplistic, it looks like a letterbox-format book, just a little larger than a DVD box, no picture just artist and title impressed onto thick grey card. The CDs themselves are in wallets stuck to the inside front and back of the card covers and are a little difficult to extract. Then we get a short but informed and informative essay by Mary Katherine Aldin, a veteran of Blues writing, which is followed by a selection of contemporary photographs (colour and monochrome) of Muddy, and finally detailed track listing.
51 tracks of Muddy Waters at his best, presented in an attractive and durable format. Sheer unmissable magic.
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As said in the CD title, this limited edition 2CD set features Muddy Waters recordings for Chess during the years 1952-1958 when he was the `King Of Chicago Blues'.
This 2CD set comes in a posh `booklet' style CD case (unlike any other that I've seen before)! and is the next volume in Muddy's prolific spell at Chess Records (The first being a 2CD set: Rollin' Stone 1947-1952).
This is a great CD set for Muddy Waters fans and especially fans of `Electric blues' as it features all of the music from his `Electric' years at Chess rather than the slow, acoustic country blues that he recorded in the years leading up to 1952 as featured on the Rollin' Stone set.
Strange things occur in the wonderful, yet sometimes wacky world of CD reissues. Chess music seems particularly prone to this, such as the Buddy Guy 2 CD set which has clipped (a sort of 'fade-in' effect in the case of 'Worried Blues') tracks at the start of each CD, and the alternative take of 'My Time After Awhile' is listed and included where the master should be. The latter scenario ('Act Like You Love Me') occurs on the Jimmy Rogers set also, where he is called 'Rodgers' on the CDs themselves. Typographical errors are ridiculously commonplace within the Chess reisssue programme. There's no excuse!
In the case of this set, two major errors have occurred in the track selection. Considering that two Producers and two Product Managers were involved, one wonders where the attention to detail is. What I am referring to is the inclusion of the alternative, and in my opinion, inferior takes of both 'Sad, Sad Day' and 'I Want to Be Loved'. The former title is virtually unlistenable: Len Chess seemed to think so and he can be heard attempting to stop the performance! These have been included instead of the single versions. This is not noted within the text, indeed the text states that they are the single versions. Therefore, this is not a 'complete' set, sadly. The correct takes are available elsewhere: I got mine via Amazon MP3 downloads - but I'm extremely annoyed that I had to!