One has to wonder sometimes exactly what sort of strategy the major labels are using in releasing material from their archives. Witness Muddy Waters' You Shook Me: The Chess Masters, Vol. 3, 1958 to 1963, a two-disc box set documenting 49 tracks from what is, arguably, one of the most important periods of Waters' lengthy career. Universal Music kind of snuck this one out this week to little fanfare, and with little or no promotion behind the title.
No matter, 'cause this is a set that any diehard blues fan is going to want to include in their collection, regardless of whether or not they already own a lot of the material. You Shook Me: The Chess Masters, Vol. 3, 1958 to 1963 documents a period where Waters was transitioning from a successful singles chart artist with a string of hits to his name to the album-oriented artist he would become known as during the 1960s and '70s. Among the material included in the set are the Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill album, a tribute from the Chicago blues legend to his mentor Big Bill Broonzy, and Muddy Waters At Newport, the ground-breaking 1960 live album that launched Waters' career into the stratosphere and provided his first taste of an enthusiastic young white audience.
You Shook Me: The Chess Masters, Vol. 3, 1958 to 1963 also includes a number of songs intended by Chess Records for release as singles, such as "You Need Love" and "Walking Thru The Park," as well as songs like "Down By The Deep Blue Sea and "Brown Skin Woman," which have rarely found their way onto anthology releases. The set features a rare Waters collaboration with Willie Dixon on vocals, "Read Way Back," and a previously-unreleased instrumental of "Sweet Black Angel" with the great Earl Hooker proving guitar. Blues expert Mary Katherin Aldin provides extensive liner notes for the set, which also features a slew of rare photos, including what is a very cool shot of young Muddy shaking hands with Big Bill Broonzy.
You Shook Me: The Chess Masters, Vol. 3, 1958 to 1963 is out now and would make a great last-minute Christmas present for any blues fan!
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Photo courtesy Universal Music