“Folk Singer” by Muddy Waters

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“Folk Singer” by Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters “Folk Singer”
Folk Singer is the fourth studio album by Muddy Waters, released in April 1964 by Chess Records. The album features Waters on acoustic guitar, backed by Willie Dixon on string bass, Clifton James on drums, and Buddy Guy on acoustic guitar. It is Waters’s only all-acoustic album. Numerous reissues of Folk Singer include bonus tracks from two subsequent sessions, in April 1964 and October 1964.
Despite not charting in any country, Folk Singer received critical acclaim; most reviewers praised its high-quality sound, especially on remastered versions, as well as the instrumentation. In 2003, the album was ranked number 280 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Listen to “Folk Singer” by Muddy Waters.

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Track listing

1. “My Home Is in the Delta” (Waters) – 3:58
2. “Long Distance” (Waters) – 3:30
3. “My Captain” (Willie Dixon) – 5:10
4. “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” (Sonny Boy Williamson) – 3:12
5. “You Gonna Need My Help” (Waters) – 3:09
6. “Cold Weather Blues” (Waters) – 4:40
7. “Big Leg Woman” (John Temple) – 3:25
8. “Country Boy” (Waters) – 3:26
9. “Feel Like Going Home” (Waters) – 3:52

1999 bonus tracks
10. “The Same Thing” (Dixon) – 2:57
11. “You Can’t Lose What You Never Had” (Waters) – 2:46
12. “My John the Conqueror Root” (Dixon) – 2:22
13. “Short Dress Woman” (John T. Brown) – 2:49
14. “Put Me in Your Lay Away” (L.J. Welch) – 2:56

Young Muddy Waters in Mississippi
Young Muddy Waters in Mississippi
McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913 — April 30, 1983), known by his stage name Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician who is often cited as the “father of modern Chicago blues”. Muddy Waters grew up on Stovall Plantation, near Clarksdale, Mississippi, and by age 17 was playing the guitar and the harmonica, emulating local blues artists Son House and Robert Johnson.[4] He was recorded in Mississippi by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941.
In 1943, he moved to Chicago to become a full-time, professional musician. In 1946, Muddy Waters eventually recorded his first record for Columbia Records and then for Aristocrat Records, a newly formed label run by the brothers Leonard and Phil Chess.
In the early 1950s, Muddy Waters and his band—Little Walter Jacobs on harmonica, Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Elgin Evans on drums and Otis Spann on piano—recorded several blues classics, some with bassist and songwriter Willie Dixon. These songs included “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “I Just Want to Make Love to You” and “I’m Ready”. In 1958, he traveled to England, laying the foundations of the subsequent blues boom there. His performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960 was recorded and released as his first live album, At Newport 1960.
Muddy Waters’ influence is tremendous, not just on blues and rhythm and blues but on rock and roll, hard rock, folk music, jazz, and country music. His use of amplification is often cited as the link between Delta blues and rock and roll.
Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters
After his successful performance at Newport Jazz Festival and tours through America, Chess Records encouraged Waters to record songs for a new studio album. Before the recording, several musicians had Waters’s band, and other had joined Waters. Andrew Stephens, who played at Newport, was replaced in the following years with numerous bassists. The drummer Francis Clay was replaced by Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, who played in the Muddy Waters Junior Band. Pat Hare was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife (while in jail, he formed the band Sounds Incarcerated). Hare was replaced by a succession of guitarists, including James “Pee Wee” Madison, who played a right-handed guitar left handed. Madison played guitar on some of the reissue bonus tracks, as did Sammy Lawhorn. Lawhorn allegedly suffered from narcolepsy (Elvin Bishop denied this, believing that Lawhorn’s sleepiness was due to alcoholism). The electric guitarist Buddy Guy, who had recorded with Waters on Blues from Big Bill’s Copacabana, released by Chess in 1963, was hired. Guy had been discovered by Waters shortly after Guy arrived in Chicago from Louisiana
Folk Singer is an “unplugged” recording and differs from his earlier albums, which featured an electric blues sound. The title of the album was chosen by Chess Records because it was recorded during the time when folk music was popular. In order to appeal to fans of folk music, Chess recorded a more acoustic album with two acoustic guitarists. Buddy Guy was hired as the second guitarist. Other guitarists played on bonus tracks. Guy played on all original songs, except the last song, “Feel Like Going Home”, together with Waters.
Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters
The recording took place at the Tel Mar Recording Studios, in Chicago, in September 1963, and was produced by Willie Dixon.[6] The original vinyl release includes nine songs, most of which are performed at a slower tempo, with the exception of the uptempo “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl“. During recording, Waters emphasized his singing with hums and sighs.
In a contemporary review, Down Beat magazine found Waters’s singing “forced and artificial”, writing that Folk Singer suffers from a major flaw: “He only begins to come close to the power and unforced intensity of the original numbers and style from time to time, as on ‘You Gonna Need My Help’ and ‘My Home Is in the Delta'”. In a retrospective review, Cub Koda, writing for AllMusic was more enthusiastic, deeming the record’s sound fresh and vital. In 2003, Rolling Stoneranked Folk Singer number 280 on its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of AllTime”, writing that the “unplugged” playing was pioneering and has since been “beloved by blues and folk fans alike”. In a 1994 issue of Rolling Stone, a reviewer wrote, “…There aren’t too many blues albums that qualify as audiophile recordings, but Muddy Waters Folk Singer surely does. A wonderfully intimate session, it delivers Waters’ voice in all its power and subtlety, while rendering his guitar work…with such vivid realism, you would think you were sitting in the studio….”

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