Audio Beat Rated 4.5/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sound!
The Absolute Sound 40th Anniversary Best Sounding Music!
TAS Rated 4/5 Music, 4/5 Sonics in the May/June 2012 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
Michael Fremer Rated 9 out of 10 for Music, 10 out of 10 for Sound!
Featured in Michael Fremer's Heavy Rotation in the October 2011 Issue of Stereophile!
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Folk Singer has been an audiophile staple for years. It always gets a bunch of play at hi-fi shows. It's a no-doubter demonstration disc. But never before has it sounded like this! Never has it been cut at 45 RPM!
There are a handful of landmark albums in any genre. In the blues, one of them is Muddy Waters' Folk Singer. Originally released in 1964, Folk Singer was the only acoustic album Waters ever recorded, thus becoming the first and perhaps best blues concept album ever. Muddy of course started out playing acoustic blues in the Delta, and he's clearly very comfortable in this return to his roots, which was designed to appeal to the mid-1960s surge of interest in folk music.
Folk Singer represents a departure from the electric 'urban' blues sound that Muddy Waters pioneered. This all-acoustic collection of recordings illustrates his deep-rooted rural blues influences, reminiscent of the sides he made nearly twenty-five years prior in Mississippi. This release features McKinley Morganfield (Muddy Waters) on vocals and guitar, supported by a very young Buddy Guy on guitar, blues legend Willie Dixon on upright bass and Clifton James on occasional drums.
Muddy's supporting cast includes a very young Buddy Guy on guitar, Willie Dixon at the upright bass and Clifton James on drums.
This recording has enormous presence with ample room for Muddy's booming voice to resonate.
It's been ages since I've heard LP surfaces this quiet - as in dead quiet. The air, dynamic range, harmonic complexity, instrumental texture, verve in Waters' voice, and sheer sense of four guys making music together bring this recording to life as never before. It's by far the best sounding and most engaging version yet... analog lovers will be in hog heaven.
Worried that the folk-music fad was luring listeners away from the blues, Chess Records directed Waters to record with acoustic instruments. These sessions - by Waters, Willie Dixon and a young Buddy Guy - went astonishingly well, and this pioneering 'unplugged' set is beloved by blues and folk fans alike.
...This time, though, it's been given the royal treatment, and not just heavy vinyl. It has been remastered from the original tapes, pressed on Chad Kassem's new hardware and it plays at 45rpm. It is a revelation...It's always been a chillingly 'real' experience. Now, it's overwhelming. Buy it!
The Quality Record Pressing is drop-dead quiet - as silent as the best Japanese pressings from the late 1970s - and the amount of inner detail released is simply astonishing...the sound is sweet, liquid and free of harshness and edge. The dynamics are mind-boggling. When Muddy takes it up ten notches to emphasize a point it's positively explosive in a way the 33 1/3 version only suggests.
Folk Singer is a true audiophile war-horse... The playing is direct and unfettered, emphasizing the emotional rawness of the blues, and the sound is spacious and reverberant, creating a sonic atmosphere that fits the music especially well... Kassem made sure to hunt down the actual master tapes, refusing to use safety or backup copies. Perhaps it's this or the modifications made to the presses at QRP, but the sound... is extraordinary - gracefully detailed and supremely focused. An original pressing of Folk Singer may have greater cachet for a record collector, but this is likely the definitive version for people who value the music
- 180g Vinyl
- Double LP
- Mastered by Bernie Grundman
- Mastered from Original 1964 Chess Analog Masters
- Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
- New Gatefold jacket with extra photos
|Muddy Waters||vocals, guitar|
LP 1 - Side A:
- My Home Is In The Delta
- Long Distance
LP 1 - Side B:
- My Captain
- Good Morning School Girl
- You Gonna Need My Help
LP 2 - Side C:
- Cold Weather Blues
- Big Leg Woman
LP 2 - Side D:
- Country Boy
- Feel Like Going Home
Recorded September 1963 at Ter Mar Recording Studios.