Mannish Boy CD Review

“Mannish Boy” by Muddy Waters is a fantastic blues CD and a must have for all blues music lovers. It contains a collection of some of Muddy Waters’ best studio recorded songs. Each song manages to capture a certain element of the blues with Muddy Waters’ musical expertise and prowess on the guitar. He manages to capture a heavy Mississippi delta blues feeling with the energy of the Chicago electric blues.

The album begins with “Country Blues, Number One” completely played in a raw delta blues style. The song contains a simple texture consisting of solely the guitar and vocals. The guitar playing style is comparable to that of blues legends such as Robert Johnson. The playing style includes elements such as slide guitar and a twang picking sound adding to the harsh timbre that can be heard on the guitar when played. The saddened vocals of “Country Blues, Number One” augment the deep and emotional lyrics that tell a story of a lost lover.

Although the famous blues musician Willie Dixon wrote the song “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” Muddy Waters makes it into his own song, adding a tremendous emotional feeling with a passionate singing style. The title of this song gives away the whole picture and is practically overflowing with bravado. The vocal styles used for this song range from soft and sensual to a full forced shout. This song features a heavily distorted harmonica solo played by the well known blues musician Little Walter. This song contains more attitude than you could ever get from even a group of the most rebellious high school teens.

The music on this album follows the basic blues rhythm and form while maintaining catchy lyrics which might cause you to pick up your hairbrush and sing along. The songs on this album range from somewhat simple textures containing just guitar and vocals to more complex textures, containing guitar, vocals, bass, keyboard, and harmonica. This album is a definite buy for any person who enjoys either rock or blues music, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who desires to expand their musical tastes. I give this CD an easy five out of five rating.

Review by Richard Becker, originally for Music 262. Reprinted with permission.

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