Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf & Little Walter: A Big Dollop of Jam

14th April 2017

Title: The Chicago Super Blues Revisited
Label: Jasmine

The Super Blues record releases were basically two session albums from the late 60s via the Chess label. The first, from 1968, featuring Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Little Walter was a basic and easy going jam session and, thus, a bit on the slap-dash and careless side. Especially as Little Walter was in bad health, playing with a collapsed lung. The next release in the so-called ‘series’ was Super Super Blues (just in case you hadn’t got the message the first time around). Howlin’ Wolf replaced Little Walter. The problem with the original unstructured ensemble was partly that, the lack of any structure and discipline and partly the clashing personalities and styles. Bo Diddley was too much of a loner individual. Otis Spann, Buddy Guy, Herbet Sumlin and Clifton James, way back in the rear in the studio, never stood a chance of being heard.

So, that’s the background to this CD which, by the name, somehow infers that you’re about to hear unissued takes from the original sessions or similar (well, it does to me). Jasmine has been a little bit naughty with this CD release because that’s not what’s included here at all. The truth is in the sub-title, Singles As & Bs 1961-1962. As the label itself says, this CD is a, “…homage to the two superb albums Super Blues and The Super Super Blues Band…Here the concept is different as these three giants of Chicago blues are not performing together but what is presented are both sides of their 45s released after Jasmine’s respective releases: Muddy Waters – Natural Born Lover, Howlin’ Wolf – The Wolf is at Your Door and Little Walter – The Singles As & Bs – 1952-1960.”

Get that? It’s a compilation of singles from three blues greats, many years before the Super Blues albums were even released. It might be naughty but it’s still nice as the tracks are excellent, featuring the likes of Messin’ With the Man from Waters, Back Droo Man from Wolf and I Don’t Play from Walters. Just be clear about that you’re buying, though.