Acclaimed Albums – At Newport 1960 by Muddy Waters

Like I mentioned with the switch over to the Top 1000 list, there are a number of older albums that I listened to as part of a previous blog. This was back in 2009 … and I think my views on music have changed somewhat. Or maybe not, but hey it’s good to keep crossing these off so for these three weeks will be playing a game of catch-up.

List item: Listen to the 1000 Most Acclaimed Albums
Progress: 300/1000
Title: At Newport 1960
Artist: Muddy Waters
Year: 1960

The name of Muddy Waters was one that I have heard in passing. In fact the most poignant of these asides is the reference made to him in an episode of Family Guy where he is passing some kidney stones while backed up by his band. While this may not count as some form of definitive exposure it actually did mildly introduce me to the jazz riff from ‘I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man’ so in some unusual way I guess it did contribute to my overall knowledge, however minutely.

Either way, whether or not it be a blues album it is also the third of the live albums to be featured on the list. Having flicked ahead I can see I have plenty more to come in the next few weeks so shall leave my rant until then. As for now what I can say about this that as live albums go At Newport 1960 is up there with Sarah Vaughan’s At Mister Kelly’s for the sheer fact that it knows when to have the artist and the emcee stop talking and allow the music to play.

This is an album that produced an immediate positive impact whereby I found myself immediately transfixed with the artist and the music. While it is true that’s the advantage you gain by of starting off the set with a strong track such as ‘I Got My Brand On You’, but this just continues on throughout the album. Songs that follow such as ‘Tiger In Your Tank’ and the two-part ‘I’ve Got My Mojo Working’ just go on to further cement how good this album actually is.

The rating may seem low considering that this is almost a glowing review, however, there are some areas that to me are just missed. The largest of these is that this album is too short, being only 35 minutes long. I would’ve liked to have heard more. Now I know length of an album is one that I do use a lot, e.g. Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Gerswin Songbooks, but personally a few more blues numbers couldn’t hurt. Or maybe this is actually the rare art of live album editing in action here.

Either way, I am going to need to do some digging into the Spotify available back catalogue. As for the other areas, they are more that of a feeling than of substance that can be articulated. While I am aware that this is in a way of a cop-out but there is a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that prevents a higher rating. Still, this is definitely an album that should be checked out as a great introduction to the blues as how they should be played.

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