It's strange seeing this album receive a relatively high level of interest from Amazon customers when it's so incredibly similar to The Howlin' Wolf Album by Howlin' Wolf, an album which draws a consistantly lower level of Amazon customer interest.
With which in mind, I feel it only fair to review this release by way of comparison.
Electric Mud and The Howling Wolf Album were recorded around the same time for the same record label, with near-enough the same musicians and the same team on production, with each album sharing a concept; take one vintage Bluesman and jump-start him into the minds of the hip young audience of the day by giving him a Funked-up Acid Rock sound.
Yet although the end result was a pair of albums sounding almost like two-halves of one complete body of work, I would argue the Howlin' Wolf release is distinctly the superior of the pair.
From a purely musical perspective the band sound more in the pocket with Wolf, tighter and more focused, leaving their playing on Electric Mud to come across more as a warm-up for the main game. In both cases the rhythm section set up a firm groove throughout, but its sometimes too loose on Electric Mud. Similarly, the guitar on the latter spends a hugely unneccessary amount of time soloing, as if a deliberate attempt was being made to over-emphasise how "weird" and "wacked out" the kerazy new modern sound was. It sounds completely forced, and worse still, is out of tune so often it's painful. Yet on the Howling Wolf Album the guitar tends to focuse on holding a rhythm or locking into a groove with the rhythm section, creating a sequence of powerful crawling riffs which at times verge on becoming hypnotic.
Put simply, the band rock harder - and better - with Wolf.
From a purely vocal perspective Wolf sounds threatening, dangerous, belligerent. Perfectly in tune with the albums' darkly funky and psychedelicised vibe. In comparison, Waters, although a fantastic and powerful singer, comes across on Electric Mud as being a friendly crowd-pleasing showman having a blast with some young psyched-out chums. His voice lacks the inherent edge of Wolf's. He could just as well be singing exactly the same vocal lines to any style of backing, be that brass, strings, piano, whatever.
Put simply, Wolf's down and dirty growl suits the bite of this harder-edged style of music far better, and the band perform this harder-edged style of music as if they were born for it. Out of the two albums, The Howlin' Wolf Album sounds like the real deal.....despite the man himself apparently claiming he didn't like it.
The Howling Wolf Album gets a 5 star rating from me, with Electric Mud coming in second with a 3.