10. Walking Through The Park (Prev Unreleased Bonus Trk)
Also available in a 3-pack with I'M READY and KING BEE.
Personnel: Muddy Waters (vocals, guitar); Johnny Winter (guitar, background vocals); Bob Margolin (guitar); James Cotton (harmonica); Pine Top Perkins (piano); Charles Calmese (bass); Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (drums).
Muddy spent much of the late '60s and early '70s engaging in crossover attempts, achieving varying degrees of critical and commercial success. But no matter what far-flung paths his studio efforts took, his live performances remained unadulterated. It took the savvy of blues-rocker Johnny Winter to put Muddy's from-the-heart style back where it belonged: in the studio.
Produced by Winter, the appropriately titled HARD AGAIN finds Muddy and his regular band pounding into the old material with all the fury of their '50s heyday. For his part as guitarist, Winter successfully straddles the line between reverence and enthusiasm, laying back enough to let the master strut his stuff, but nevertheless goading Muddy on with highly audible verbal exhortations. This is as close as a studio album gets to a "live" feel. Hearing Muddy burn through a chestnut like "Mannish Boy" with the vim and vigor of a man decades younger, one begins to understand the nature of his artistic consistency and preternatural staying power. HARD AGAIN is Muddy's most compelling post-'60s studio effort.
Rolling Stone (p.95) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[T]here's a lot of virtuosity here..."
Q (p.134) - 4 stars out of 5 - "For students of the post-war blues, a guaranteed delight."
Down Beat (p.68) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Singing, he's playful and proud, brawny and insistent, his free-flow of inspiration spreading to his superlative road band..."