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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 2. 8th March 1972

"Superblues" — Muddy Waters, Little Walter & Bo Diddley. HMV

"Superblues" — Muddy Waters, Little Walter & Bo Diddley. HMV

There is ever-growing support for the contention that the twelve bar blues is the most clinced form in modern music The wide-spread fame of B.B.King and the rise in popularity of young white bluesmen (particularly the English) has had the effect of cluttering record shops with albums that are nothing more than a collection of twelve bars all arranged in much the same very dear precise way. All good clever stuff or course. Very relaxing but also very very predictable.

So it is refreshing to come across a blues record that is something more than just and endless string of 12-bars in fact only one strictly orthodox twelve - bars is included. (Long Distance Call) by Muddy Waters. Most of the tracks are vigorous fierce R'n'B songs of the type that established the Rolling Stones, The Animals and others in 1963-64 Bo Diddley, of course, is the master of this idiom and the three songs penned by him on the album are the best tracks They bounce along with lightness of rythm yet incredible power, to produce the type of excitement that seems to have largely faded from popular music. In fact, Bo's Who Do You Love, the best track on the album serves to emphasise how power is nowdays confused with heaviness Led Zeppelin's arrangement of this song becomes bogged down with heavy monotonous bass riffs and lead breaks whereas the version on this album has an orthodox yet fresh r'n'b feeling and is very raw and gutsy and exciting by comparison. Unfortunately only the three Bo Diddley compositions manage to properly achieve this delicate balance of lightness and power so that the other five tracks seem relatively inferior. In particular the Willie Dixon standard I just Wanna Make Love to You seems heavy and drab alongside Alan Price's brilliant arrangement of the same song for the Animals. But this track is the only real disappointment. For the rest, good musicianship and fierce singing cannot, it seems, compensate for the indefinable "something" that marks off the very good, that makes a song really exciting and inspiring rather than just clever.

Musically the album is characterised by a fresh informal air, provided in the main by Muddy Waters' seemingly carefree slide-guitar by cheery repartee between the three in the intervals between verses and by constant improvisation. Balanced against this is a near impecable rhythm section (featuring very good piano-work by Otis Spann) so that at no stage dows the album look like losing any of the tightness so important to the idiom. If there is to be any critisism of the album in this respect it must be that Little Waiter's harmonica cannot compare to the playing of Butter-field and that there is a slight tendency for the rhythm section to become smothered. And one more black mark-it is apparent after only a few listenings that Bo Diddley's singing is vastly superior to the others. Whereas Walter's voice is too weak and Muddy's a little too harsh, Bo's singing is clear and fine and bubbling with excitement.

Overall - this record is one of those agonising discs that only just fails to be truly inspiring. It is by and large a successful blending of three great talents but one that could perhaps have been better.

DOWNSTAGE THEATRE "DON'T LET SUMMER' COME" by Terrence Feely Directed by Tony Groser Special Guest Production THEATRE ACTION March 13 to 18 inclusive A group of mime artists under the direction of Francis Batten. Student Concessions available (Coffee & show reservations Wed. & Thurs only.) Reservations-559-639

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