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Muddy Waters

I'm Ready

PPAN JZ34928
Release Notes
  • Personnel: Muddy Waters, vocals, guitar / Pinetop Perkins, piano / Bob Margolin, bass / Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, drums / Jimmy Rogers, guitar Big Walter Horton, harp Jerry Portnoy, harp Johnny Winter, guitar.

At the end of his storied career, the great Chicago blues man, Muddy Waters, had one last period of resurgence. He made a trilogy of albums produced by Johnny Winter-Hard Again, I’m Ready, and King Bee. Winters’ formula was fairly straight forward-surround Muddy with his touring band and add some special guests to light his fire-while recording a mixture of hit singles with new material. Then let Muddy cut loose and burn down some electric Chicago blues. It was a winning combination and you can sense the joy that Muddy felt in his bantering between songs. His last hurrah was a barnburner.

Ray Staff has done a brilliant job remastering this album as the electric guitars bent notes sizzle and Muddy’s strutting vocals growl with passion. Guests Big Walter Horton and Jimmy Rogers spur Waters to new heights. Pianist Pine Top Perkins, still going strong today in his 90s, was cooking 30 years ago, and Johnny Winter must have had a blast playing slide guitar on Who Do You Trust. Screamin’ and Cryin’ and I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man were vintage Waters and still cooked even at the end of the fabled Mr. Waters’ career.

For the middle album of his Johnny Winter-produced late-‘70s music trilogy, blues giant Muddy Waters brought a new spirit to some familiar material. Starting with members of Waters’ touring band – Pinetop Perkins, Bob Margolin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith – Winter added underrated guitarist (and longtime Waters foil) Jimmy Rogers and extraordinary harp player Big Walter Horton to the mix.

The songs recorded for I’m Ready offer a mix of new material and vintage hit singles like the title cut, the mid-‘60s jewel Screamin’ and Cryin’, or the Willie Dixon-penned I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man. For new listeners trying to get a feel of what the blues is all about, I’m Ready is the perfect place to start. Once you experience a taste of Muddy Waters, you’ll be ready for more. "Judging by the gatefold black and white photo,everyone had a great time making the album. You’ll have as good a time listening. The sound is quite three-dimensional, with a pronounced but pleasant presence region peak that ads a needed rough edge to the proceedings.

The stage is relatively compact and very coherent with plenty of old fashioned mike leakage that helps to create a “live” sound in an era of isolation booth multi-track mono productions. Producer Winter and engineer Still knew the sound they were going for and they got it!" -

Michael Fremer