For many, he was the greatest bluesman ever to growl into the mic. His authority was absolute. Whether his easy wry smile was crossing his avuncular face, or he was barking tough warnings in deadly earnest, he knew how good he was and so did everybody else. Bands far richer than him stole his music, copied his style, and even named themselves after his songs.
By the end of the '50s Muddy had become famous enough to release a record with his own name on the cover. But that it was to be a Best Of collection was certainly a surprise since the ink had barely dried on his recording contract with Chess. It was as though the producers had known that with such timeless sides as "Hoochie Coochie (Man)," "I Just Want To Make Love To You," "I Can't Be Satisfied," "Rollin' Stone," "Long Distance Call," and "Honey Bee" under his belt, Muddy had the goods which would provide him and numerous cover bands with material for years to come.
In those days Waters' blues did not bow to any particular fashion of the times. Dry and raw, he tells his tales to the crystal-clear, metallic sound of the electric guitar. A rhythm group builds the foundation, the melodic counterpart to the vocals is provided by the harp with cuttingly sharp intrusions or whimpering background. Nothing more is needed to experience a truly original blues feeling and we should thank our lucky stars that such authentic blues music as this was captured on record.