Tonight is HRH‘s swimming lessons so despite being in my ‘do nothing’ recovery period I’m choosing to do something, albeit slow and relatively easy-going, because sitting still doing nothing for 60 minutes would be too mentally tedious. I may as well do something productive (albeit slow and relatively easy-going, as I said before) like lifting weights. I’m not so much building strength at this point as I am just maintaining what I already have so there will be no ripping of muscle fiber this evening, I assure you. To fuel this slow and easy-going weights session I queued up something similarly slow and easy-going, the ‘Big Mama Thornton with the Muddy Waters Blues Band‘ album.
I’ve just recently discovered Big Mama on a past business trip to San Antonio (click HERE) and I really enjoyed it so I decided to go with another and, well, I know I already love Muddy Waters so the combination of the two sounded perfect. It was. As I’ve described before, Big Mama Thornton is one of the greatest Blues shouters of all time. Her music has influenced the likes of Janis Joplin and Elvis and she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1984. In 1966 she joined with the Muddy Waters Blues band to cut this classic album of down home shoutin’ blues for producer Chris Strachwitz at Arhoolie Records.
The whole thing came about when Strachwitz witnessed an amazing performance of the era which had Thornton backed by a group of Chicago musicians who included Buddy Guy on guitar. With that performance in mind, he was determined to capture that excellence in the studio. He offered the gig to Muddy Waters, whom he met in San Francisco a few days prior to this session. Muddy accepted and brought with him James Cotton (harmonica), Otis Spann (piano), Sammy Lawhorn (guitar), Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson (bass), and Francis Clay (drums). What came out at Coast Recorders on April 25, 1966 is presented on this 17-track disc including seven previously unreleased cuts. From the low-down gutbucket blues of ‘Black Rat‘, and ‘Big Mama’s Shuffle‘ (featuring both Thornton and James Cotton engaging in a battle of the harps), to the hazy, late-night atmosphere of ‘Life Goes On‘, ‘Since I Fell for You‘, ‘Gimme a Penny‘ and ‘I Feel the Way I Feel‘, all of this material is absolutely timeless.
All in, it was great way to pass a slow and easy-going weights session while the child flip-flopped her way around from one of the pool to the other. I couldn’t have planned it any better actually.