Muddy Waters brought the blues from the Delta to the city. This meant not only his own journey from Mississippi to Chicago, but his remarkable writing, which expressed the lives and thoughts of the newly-urban black working class. The Anthology collects fifty songs from his classic era, most originally released on the Chess label (not that there aren’t other great Waters songs from before and after these years). His massive, sonorous voice, backed by the finest bands in the genre (the training ground for such stars as Little Walter, Buddy Guy, and James Cotton), makes his deceptively crafted lyrics sound like sermons from the mount. “Mannish Boy,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man” — they’re all here, laying the groundwork for the rock & roll that followed.
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