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The historic 1941-42 Library of Congress Field Recordings produced by Alan Lomax and John Work III
Some tracks originally released in 1942 as Folk Music of the United States Album IV -- Afro American Blues and Game Songs
Mastered by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound from a 192kHz file created from the original metal direct-to-disc recording
Blues legend Muddy Waters, born McKinley Morganfield in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, was a sharecropper/tractor driver, and a local blues guitarist who ran a juke joint and sold bootleg liquor from his house in 1941-42 when fate intervened. The Library of Congress had started its systematic series of field recordings of American traditional music and on a 1941 recording trip through the Delta, led by Alan Lomax and John Work III, they came upon the 26-year-old Muddy, recorded him at his home with a small accompanying combo (guitar, mandolin and violin), and made music history.
"We were all very impressed by him; I mean, there was no question about the fact he was a blues singer who had great feeling and poise and mastery, and something very profound and special of his own to say," remembered Alan Lomax.
Muddy had played harmonica since his early childhood, and learned guitar in his teenage years; his primary musical influence was Son House. A year later in 1942, Lomax made his second trip through the Delta recording the remainder of the tracks, including more of Muddy's songs. The following year, at age 28, Muddy moved to Chicago and a blues legend was born.
Analogue Productions is honored to present The Complete Plantation Recordings -- Muddy Waters as a newly mastered 33 1/3 200-gram LP reissue. This numbered, deluxe edition, pressed at Quality Record Pressings, is limited to 1,000 copies. The songs presented represent everything listed by the Library of Congress as recorded by Muddy Waters during these historic sessions.
What sets this reissue apart is its authenticity. For this reissue the original metal disc recordings created by Lomax were the source for a high-res 192kHz digital file used by Sterling Sound's Ryan K. Smith to master this edition.
In addition to the flat and impeccably silent 200-gram 2LPs pressed at QRP in this limited edition set, the packaging is exemplary. The highest-quality Stoughton Printing gatefold jacket is wrapped in a linen cover, evoking the linen cover of the five-album set released by the Library of Congress initially in 1942 as Folk Music of the United States Album IV -- Afro American Blues and Game Songs, where some of these tracks by Muddy first appeared.
Lomax, Work and teams of other folklorists crisscrossed the country, particularly the southern U.S., setting up "portable" recording gear and recording native musicians and singers in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, at roadside markets, churches, homes and elsewhere.
The recorders of the time were cumbersome. Weighing as much as 350 pounds, they were piles of iron, wire and steel -- plus two batteries weighing 75 pounds each -- and a microphone. Magnetic tape had yet to be utilized; the machines recorded onto scores of blank aluminium and celluloid discs.
Both Lomax and Work's voices can be heard on the recordings conducting portions of interviews with Muddy. A great many more tracks were recorded than were initially released through the five-album set released by the Library of Congress initially in 1942 as Folk Music of the United States Album IV -- Afro American Blues and Game Songs.
"I was the editor of the first five-album set, and my opinion of Muddy was so good that we included TWO of his songs," Lomax said later. "I couldn't make up my mind which of his two blues were best, so we put them both in."
"Limited to 1000 numbered copies, Analogue Productions' deluxe release of these seminal Muddy Waters recordings is one of the coolest and most significant projects I've seen - not only in terms of the recorded content, but in conception and packaging, too. For the first time these LPs include all the songs captured by Alan Lomax's 'portable" field equipment - 350 lbs. worth custom rigged into a Ford sedan - during two sessions in 1941 and 1942, plus interviews with the 26-year-old Muddy that were considered an essential part of the Library of Congress's attempt to document the widest possible range of American folk music. The linen-bound gatefold jacket meticulously recreates the original Library of Congress releases, with historic photos of Waters, Lomax, his recording set-up, etc. The Library of Congress transferred the original metal disc recordings to a high-res 192kHz digital file used by Sterling Sound's Ryan K. Smith to master this edition, and the results are a revelation. While the sound is relatively primitive, it is also remarkably natural, pure, and immediate. By comparison the incomplete 1966 Testament release sounds like it was made under a blanket. This is a remarkable achievement. Get it while you can. " - Wayne Garcia, The Absolute Sound, July/August 2020
- Numbered Limited Edition - 1000 Copies
- 200g Vinyl
- Plated & Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
- Mastered by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound from a 192kHz file created from the original metal direct-to-disc recording
- Stoughton Printing gatefold jacket wrapped in a linen cover
- Country Blues (Number One)
- Interview #1
- I Be's Troubled
- Interview #2
- Burr Clover Farm Blues
- Interview #3
- Ramblin' Kid Blues (Partial)
- Ramblin Kid Blues
- Joe Turner
- Pearlie May Blues
- Take A Walk With Me
- Burr Clover Blues
- Interview #4
- I Be Bound To Write To You (First Version)
- I Be Bound To Write To You (Second Version)
- You're Gonna Miss Me when I'm Gone (Number One)
- You Got To Take Sick And Die Some Of These Days
- Why Don't You Live So God Can Use You
- Country Blues (Number Two)
- You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone (Number Two)
- 32-20 Blues