I own the vinyl version of this (nine tracks only) plus a cheapie CD called "Goodbye Newport Blues" which has the first nine tracks then six other Muddy tracks (which are perfectly good - from later live performances). I well remember when I bought the vinyl album in, I think, 1963, in Deptford. It was the last copy in the shop and the lad in charge wasn't too happy because he said he'd had his eye on it.
Anyway, great album and, I understand it represents the first live material from Muddy to be captured on disc. In addition this was the first time Muddy and band had been invited to perform at the prestigious Newport Jazz festival (and this was the last of the same). So of high historic significance also. There are great versions of his two most famous numbers, "Hoochie Koochie Man" and "Got my mojo working" with the latter benefiting considerably from the live environment. The band featured Otis Spann on piano, James Cotton on harmonica and Pat Hare on guitar, all veterans of the Chess (and Muddy) culture. Francis Clay on drums was relatively new and more familiar with the busier organ/sax environment but he fitted in well providing oodles of propulsion on "Mojo" much to the appreciation of the audience. The other numbers don`t suffer by comparison with the biggies - "I got my brand on you" and "Tiger in your tank" were recently recorded numbers, both from the pen of the prolific Willie Dixon, and both rock-solid examples of Chicago blues.
The original final track, intended as an encore was "Goodbye Newport Blues" performed by Otis Spann,which was based on a poem specifically written because this was the last Newport jazz festival. This a slow beaut. Slow and more traditional in nature than Muddy's stuff.
From this distance it's hard to realise how god-like a figure Muddy Waters appeared to those within the growing market for what was then termed, rhythm and blues in London and other UK cities in 1963 and `64. Initially this was but a cult but it blossomed out of all proportion after a host covers of material from Chess and other sources by the Brit R&B bands, the Stones, Yardbirds, Animals etc. At the time, the vinyl version of this was one album you just had to have.
Classic, even if the original did only have 9 tracks. And I've just looked at mine. It came out in 1960 on the Pye Jazz label and the inside sleeve has ads for albums by Lonnie Donegan, Joan Regan, Edmund Hockridge and Nina and Frederick.
Muddy Waters was a formidable thing in the Chess Studios – but let loose in a live environment with his red-hot band cooking, his deep Mississippi voice growling and his ebullient persona effortlessly enthralling the audience – Morgan McKinleyfield could slaughter all in his path.
Some albums deserve their legend and "Muddy Waters At Newport 1960" is one of them. This superb 2001 Reissue/Remaster expands that Stereo masterpiece with four studio tracks from the same year (one a rarity in the USA). And even though this CD is short (just over 44 minutes) – you only have to hear five minutes of it and the word 'essential' immediately jumps to mind. Here are the Mojo Working details with some Hoochie Coochie Men thrown in...
US released March 2001 – MCA/Chess 088 112 515-2 (Barcode 008811251529) is an Expanded CD reissue and plays out as follows (44:41 minutes):
1. I Got My Brand On You
2. (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man
3. Baby, Please Don't Go
4. Soon Forgotten
5. Tiger In Your Tank
6. I Feel So Good [Side 2]
7. I’ve Got My Mojo Working
8. I’ve Got My Mojo Working, Part 2
9. Goodbye Newport Blues
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "Muddy Waters At Newport 1960" – released November 1960 in the USA on Chess LP 1449 (recorded and partially filmed Sunday afternoon, 3 July 1960 at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island). The album was released September 1961 in the UK on Pye Jazz NJL 34.
BONUS TRACKS (all Studio versions):
10. I Got My Brand On You – first appeared on the 1994 Muddy Waters 2CD Set "One More Mile: Chess Collectibles Volume 1" on Chess CHD2-9348
11. Soon Forgotten – Previously Unreleased in the USA
12. Tiger In Your Tank
13. Meanest Woman – tracks 12 and 13 are the A&B-sides of Chess 1765, a 7" single released in the USA in 1960
Muddy sang Lead Vocals and played Electric Guitar, James Cotton was on Harmonica, Otis Spann on Piano, Pat Hare on Guitar, Andrew Stephenson on Bass and Francey ‘Francis’ Clay hit the Drums. The MC for the show was Langston Hughes – a noted Black Poet of the day. Otis Spann famously improvised "Goodbye Newport Blues" on the day - takes lead vocals initially and is later joined by all the Blues Men who were playing on the bill that day (including John Lee Hooker).
It starts out rather sedately – the audience probably not knowing what to expect. We get a workmanlike version of his 'new' song "I Got My Brand On You" which sets the scene. You also notice the fantastic 'Stereo' mix adding so much space and body to the overall sound. But then something kicks in halfway through "(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man" - you can literally 'feel' the atmosphere and especially the crowd's abandon being to grow and loosen as Track 2 progresses. In the center of "Baby, Please Don't Go" – James Cotton rips into a wild Horn solo and things are now cooking rather than simmering. The crowd-cheers are now enthusiastic and real - like they've stumbled onto something fantastic and can't believe their luck (it was a sunny Sunday afternoon in 1960 - this kind of thing didn't happen every day of the week). Muddy then slows it right down with the melancholy Blues of James Oden's "Soon Forgotten" – another 'new' single for 1960 on Chess (it's really, really good too). But Side 1 ends with a total winner – another new 45 that's aimed to please – the bopping "Tiger In Your Tank" penned by the mighty Chess tunesmith Willie Dixon. It's on "Tiger In Your Tank" that the fluid piano playing of Otis Spann comes to the fore. At the end of it - there's an explosion of wolf whistles and cheers – and you can just see all those students and hip people getting down and letting go (it's a wonderful moment).
Muddy maintains the pace and momentum with a rip-roaring version of Big Bill Broonzy's "I Feel So Good" – the crowd now wild and vocal to the max. He tells them there’s one more (but they clearly want more) and the band launches into a brilliant "I Got My Mojo Working" – boogieing along like a goodun – the handclaps steady and furious. Cotton warbles that harmonica as Francis Clay lays into the drums and cymbals – it builds and builds in excitement and that sedate opener is now years away. By the time he does his "Mojo" word-mumbling routine – the day is won – and how. Muddy then hits them with an Encore Reprise of "Got My Mojo Working" where he sings "...I want to love you so bad...I don't know what to do...". He gives it a witty call-and-response with the band after which Cotton stumps up a fantastic Harp solo - followed by a clearly inspired Otis Spann on the piano. We slow down then to a crawl and Otis Spann takes over Vocals for the final track "Goodbye Newport Blues" - joined at the end by all the Blues voices of the day (including we are told John Lee Hooker).
The four Bonus Tracks are all studio efforts – a cool outtake of the Newport opener "I Got My Brand On You" from a 1994 2CD compilation called "One More Mile: Chess Collectibles Volume 1" – Cotton playing a wicked Harp solo. Uber slow Blues follows with a haunting version of "Soon Forgotten" (a great inclusion) while "Tiger In Your Tank" ups the boogie pace as it did at the concert. The R&B shuffle of "Meanest Woman" is a total gem – a B-side – the kind of Little Walter warbler that sends me over the edge. Absolutely brilliant...
So there you have it – a masterclass live LP that you wish there was more of (it broke him through to a wider audience) and a cluster of great studio additions. Muddy Waters has his brand on the hearts of millions – let him make his mark on yours. Buy this and enjoy...
PS: Titles in the "Blues Classics - Remastered & Revisited" CD Series are (all are US releases):
(1 and 2 are SUHA GUR remasters, 3 to 11 are ERICK LABSON, I've reviewed most)
1. Bad News Is Coming - LUTHER ALLISON
(1972 Gordy LP, 2001 CD Remaster + Four Previously Unreleased Bonus Tracks) - Universal 440 013 407-2 (Barcode 044001340727)
2. Luther’s Blues - LUTHER ALLISON
(1974 USA 9-track LP with 3 Previously Unreleased bonuses, 70:28 minutes)
Universal 440 013 409-2 (Barcode 044001340925)
3. Two Steps From The Blues - BOBBY BLAND
(1961 USA 12-track LP on Duke with 2 bonuses, 35:12 minutes)
MCA 088 112 516-2 (Barcode 008811251628)
4. The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues - JOHN LEE HOOKER
(October 1966 and September 1991 LPs on Chess, 2LPs on 1CD, 79:44 minutes)
MCA/Chess 088 112 821-2 (Barcode 008811282127)
5. The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues - HOWLIN' WOLF
(January 1966 on Chess and January 1967 on Chess, 2LPs on 1CD, 66:45 minutes)
MCA/Chess 088 112 820-2 (Barcode 008811282028)
6. Tell Mama: The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions - ETTA JAMES
(January 1968 US 12-Track LP on Cadet - 13-22 being bonuses, 57:11 minutes)
MCA/Chess 088 112 518-2 (Barcode 008811251826)
7. Live At San Quentin - B.B. KING
(1990 13-Track Compilation on MCA, no extras, 64:09 minutes)
MCA America 088 112 517-2 (Barcode 008811251727)
8. At Newport 1960 - MUDDY WATERS
(1960 US 9-Track LP on Chess with 10-13 being 4 Mono Studio Tracks from June 1960 as bonus tracks, 44:41 minutes)
MCA/Chess 088 112 515-2 (Barcode 008811251529)
9. Fathers & Sons - MUDDY WATERS (with Paul Butterfield, Otis Spann, Mike Bloomfield, Donald 'Duck' Dunn and Buddy Miles)
(Tracks 1-10 and 15-20 is the August 1969 2LP set on Chess in Full with Tracks 11, 12, 13 being previously unreleased - and 14 previously unreleased in the USA). (77:38 minutes)
MCA/Chess 088 112 648-2 (Barcode 008811264826)
10. The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues - MUDDY WATERS
MCA/Chess 088 112 822-2 (Barcode 008811282226)
11. The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues - SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON
(January 1966 and January 1967 LPs on Chess, 2LPs on 1CD, 65:28 minutes)
MCA/Chess 088 112 823-2 (Barcode 008811282325)
on 24 February 2006
One Of My All Time Favourite Artists, & One Of My All Time Favourite Live Albums.
Although Waters Be Singin' The Blues, The Energy & Passion That Went Into His Performance Is So, So Uplifting.
I Recommend This To Blues-Beginners, It's Much Easier On The Soul!
on 4 September 2010
If you're blues fan, this is a no-brainer; one of the best blues singers of all times, caught live, at peak of his powers, well recorded, in great company (Otis Spann, James Cotton...).
And yes, he mostly sings and lets the playing to others;
there's also an Otis Spann vocal on the Farewell Newport Blues.
Energetic, rough but very tasty (although some would say macho) blues of Muddy in Newport will haunt you if you're not familiar with the artist; if you are, this is at the same time a fine performance and a best of album.
Also, I believe the rock fans might like it too (and I'm primarily a jazz fan and I also love the blues).
"Got my mojo workin'", sings Muddy, "but it don't work on you"... Well, it worked on me just fine!
The hugely influential Chicago blues singer/guitarist/bandleader/songwriter Muddy Waters(1915-1983) was recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 3, 1960 with James Cotton(harmonica); Otis Spann(piano, vocal); Pat Hare, Lafayette Thomas(guitar); Andrew Stephens(bass) & Francis Clay(drums).
Muddy & his band were in glorious form and provided an exciting climax to the festival with impassioned versions of 'I Got My Brand On You', 'Hoochie Coochie Man', 'Tiger In Your Tank' & 'I've Got My Mojo Working'(2 versions).
The atmospheric 'At Newport' was an iconic album during the British 'R & B boom' of the early 1960s and belongs in every blues collection.
This CHESS edition(2012) has four excellent bonus studio tracks which were recorded in Chicago during 1960.
I first heard these songs more than fifty years ago when I would see Alexis Kornrr's "Blues Incorporated" at "The Marquee" in London's Soho. This started my interest in blues, and although I have other Muddy Water's albums I have only recently bought this powerful and splendid album recorded live in 1960.
I always prefer live recordings to studio recordings, and this recording captures the atmosphere wonderfully, and performing live really enhances these tunes.
The website gives the tracks. The first nine are recorded at Newport, then four "bonus tracks" studio recorded during the month before the performance. The live performance is the better!