• “Bus Driver” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to firedrich.
“Great Blues / Rhythm n Blues from the USA”
From his album “Hard Again” (Blue Sky ZK 34449) released in 1977.
In August 1975, Chess Records was sold to All Platinum Records and became a reissue label only. It was sometime after this when Muddy Waters left the label and he did not record any new studio material until he signed with Johnny Winter’s Blue Sky label in October 1976. Just a few months later, the 63-year-old bluesman delivered one of the finest long-players of his career, against all the odds. The album won a Grammy Award in 1977 for “Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording”.
If I was to register any disappointment, it would be that Muddy sees fit to drag up older material YET again – there were at least 4 reworkings on-board, relegating the LP to “b-list” status.The 4 were: “Mannish Boy” (single, 1955 & More Real Folk Blues LP, 1965), “I Want to Be Loved” (single, 1955), “I Can’t Be Satisfied” (single, 1948 & Best Of LP, 1957) and “Deep Down in Florida” (King Bee LP, 1971).
That said, “Mannish Boy” and “Can’t Be Satisfied” are both astonishing, bursting with vitality. Alas, they are ineligible for the blog on account of the fact I had long-since collected them on compiles.
“Bus Driver” is the next best track which was new to me, a song co-written by Waters with famous Blues songwriter, photographer, playwright and story teller Terry Abrahamson.
It’s about a lowdown dog who’s stolen his woman, a bus driver in fact: “My baby run off with a bus driver, and you know that don’t seem right, he used to give her rides in the daytime, now she gives him rides at night.” Yes, he really wrote that. Rough, ready and earthy describes this song and the album as a whole. It’s a great addition to any blues collection, even if it does feature the re-records.
You can read all of my favoured (“A-list”) album reviews from ’77 here.