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Classic Album Review

Retro Review: Electric Mud – Muddy Waters

ALBUM: “Electric Mud” by Muddy Waters

RELEASE YEAR: 1968

LABEL: Chess Records

RATING: 9/10

BEST TRACKS: “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “Mannish Boy” and “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man”

FCC: Clean

“Electric Mud” is my all-time favorite album from Muddy Waters, probably because I’m such a sucker for the reverb of an electric guitar. Though it’s only eight songs long, “Electric Mud” is a fantastic example of how the blues and rock meshed in the 1960s. Most of the songs are remakes of his famous classics, such as “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Mannish Boy” and “The Same Thing,” only twinged with the sludgy feel of psychedelic rock.

The 50s and early 60s proved to be the heyday for Waters, but he saw a decline in popularity as his record label began to fail and the British blues scene took over in the late 60s (ironically, many of the hard rock artists from the UK took bits from Muddy Waters’ work to further their own.) In a last-ditch attempt to capture the hearts of younger audiences, Waters joined forces with band members of the Rotary Connection to create “Electric Mud.” Disappointed in its mixture of psychedelic rock and the blues, classic blues artists disapproved of the album. Muddy Waters himself wasn’t fond of the album because he felt he couldn’t perform it live.

Despite the somewhat negative history behind “Electric Mud,” it helped put him back on the map. After his label, Chess Records, fell, Waters was able to go on and produce some of his most influential work throughout the 70s.

This album holds a special place in my heart because it made me realize how impactful Muddy Waters was on the rock scene in the 60s and 70s. Jimi Hendrix openly covered Waters’ work in both his live and studio sessions. The track “You Need Love” was the bones of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” The Rolling Stones even got their name from Waters’ song “Rollin’ Stone.”

All in all, “Electric Mud” is a fantastic album for anyone interested in rock and blues history. Give it a listen!

– DJ Butter