This is a 2 cd set of original best recordings by Muddy Waters, spanning 25 years from 1947 to 1972, and is an excellent example of why collections should be in chronological order of recording, which this set virtually is. You can hear how MW's recordings have developed over the years - for example most of his early recordings feature only guitar and bass, but as years go by harmonica, drums, piano, and sometimes even another guitar are added. Going by the recording dates shown in the track listing, only 2 tracks are not in order, and then only by months. (Track 4 on disc 2 should appear 2 tracks earlier, and track 5 on disc 2 should appear 3 tracks later.) The track listing in the excellent 16 page booklet also names the musicians: this reads like a "Who's Who" and includes Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Rogers, Otis Spann, and Little Walter! Muddy Waters himself, under his real name McKinley Morganfield, wrote 31 of the 50 songs on this cd set. These are of course all Chess recordings, and it was Muddy Waters who, in 1955, helped Chuck Berry join Chess.
As my fellow reviewer makes clear, this is a bargain-priced overview of Muddy's development at Chess records. Given the huge amount of tracks (c 50) in this anthology, it's easy to track the development in style and technique across even lesser known numbers, and changing band compositions. This is strong, driving blues with an insistent and hypnotic rhythm; not for consumption all at the one time perhaps, but as a great blues resource to be dipped into at leisure, all at a ridiculously inexpensive price. An essential blues purchase.
This anthology contains some of Muddy's best tracks and for the price it is very hard to beat. Each song is well chosen and the music is truly impressive. If you want a good overview of a blues legend then this is a great buy.
I'd also recommend Electric Mud, which is my favourite album of his.