Muddy Waters' The Complete Plantation Recordings contain the historic 1941-1942 Library of Congress Field Recordings. The father and son team of John and Alan Lomax brought their recording equipment to Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas to record prisoner and sharecropper musicians.
Two great Lomax discoveries included Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter as well as Muddy Waters--born McKinley Morganfield in 1915. Alan Lomax spoke of the early days concerning Muddy Waters: "Muddy was very much of a poor black sharecropper when I met him. In fact, he came to the first session without shoes; so I took off my own. He didn't have a guitar at that time, or at least he didn't have them with him, so he used my Martin to make the recordings."
Waters was around 26 or 27 during the time of these seminal sessions. The collection contains early acoustic versions of songs Waters later recorded electrically for Chess Records such as "Walking Blues", "I Can't Be Satisfied" and "Feel Like Goin' Home". Lomax was searching for the great Robert Johnson--who already died--when he discovered Muddy Waters.
Waters plays guitar and sings on all of the 22 songs. The other musicians on these Library of Congress sessions include guitarist Charles Berry, guitarist Son Simms, vocalist Percy Thomas and vocalist Louis Ford. On certain numbers, a jug band vibe emerges. Vintage photographs of Muddy's cabin in Clarksdale, Mississippi, exist in the liner notes. This rare disc features interviews with Waters where he answers questions concerning musical influences, tunings, song meanings and inspiration for specific tunes.
Musical highlights on the disc include "Country Blues", "I Be's Troubled", "Ramblin' Kid Blues" 'Burr Clover Blues", "I Be Bound To Write You" and "32-20 Blues". The Complete Plantation Recordings epitomizes straight-up country blues at its finest...