Monday, March 30, 2009

Muddy Waters - Electric Mud

I was looking through my Muddy Waters collection and stumbled (long live the search function on foobar!) on "Tom Cat" on a Psychedelic Jazz And Funky Grooves compilation. The song, a hypnotic stomper, really caught my ear. I tried to track down the source, and it turns out it's off the infamous Electric Mud LP with one Pete Cosey on guitar.

Guitarist Pete Cosey has a magic touch: any project he plays on, the critics seem to hate. His most famous achievements are, of course, on the electric Miles albums of the early 70s - Agharta, Pangaea, Get Up With It - the favorites of the lunatic fringe and pet peeves of the "real jazz" connoisseur. However, this one approaches the Miles LPs both in its underground popularity and in its notoriety.

Electric Mud was a brainchild of Marshall Chess, the son of Leonard Chess of the famed Chess Records, recorded and issued on the Chess subsidiary Cadet, which was an outlet for the unusual and experimental music. Electric Mud is an attempt to update the trademark Muddy Waters sound for the yound crowd by backing him with "the hottest, most avant garde rock guys in Chicago". Those "updating" attempts are not always successful, but they are often interesting. This one is nothing like the other Muddy Waters records; but if you appreciate Sonny Sharrock or Bob Quine, you should check it out. Electric Mud is not blues at all; it's a very tight and rocking psychedelic band with obvious avantgarde leanings fronted by Muddy and playing out of Muddy's book. Here's a Perfect Sound Forever review talking about "I Just Want To Make Love To You": The solo on this song is nothing short of phenomenal. The guitar starts playing some distorted melodic notes then morphs into this gigantic screeching feedback riff becoming louder and wilder then continues to morph from a tearing solo until it reaches this intense mind-bending groove that sounds on the brink of collapse.
Muddy himself seemed to have been ambivalent about this experiment at the time, but later he cooled down considerably, even calling it "dog shit" at some point. However, the record had its fans no matter what - most notably the rapper Chuck D, as well as, apparently, Miles Davis.

Muddy Waters - Electric Mud
256kbps, 74mb on 4shared (a ChrisGoesRock rip)
1. I Just Want To Make Love To You
2. I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man
3. Let's Spend The Night Together
4. She's Alright
5. Mannish Boy
6. Herbert Harper's Free Press News
7. Tom Cat
8. The Same Thing

I would also recommend checking out Blowin Gold, a solo 1969 album by saxophonist John Klemmer, who played with Don Ellis group at the time. It's also on Cadet and with the same Cadet rhythm section as above - Cosey on lead guitar, Phil Upchurch (on bass instead of rhythm guitar), Morris Jennings on drums. Incidentally, not a critical favorite, either. Not as focused nor as exciting as his early '70s sessions, says AMG. I think it's pretty good, some of the noisier jams approach the Stooges in that demented wailing-sax-over-a-monster-riff intensity. Available at the very interesting Ile Oxumare blog.


  1. Strangely enough, the follow up to Electric Mud (After The Rain with mostly the same personnel)seems to have been totally forgotten, and it may even be a superior album.

  2. have you heard howlin wolf record with almost the same crew -

    i find it even more amazing.

  3. One of my favorite albums of all time, Herbert Harper's freepress news being my fave.

  4. all 5 sharebee links are down

  5. sorry man, I am not on the computer much lately

  6. thanks! that's ok, i am very patient :)