Band members Related acts
- Muddy Waters -- vocals, guitar
supporting musicians (1974)
- George Buford -- harmonica
- Carey Bell Harrington -- harmonica
- Luther Johnson -- guitar
- Calvin Jones -- bass
- Bob Margolin -- guitar
- Paul Oscher -- harmonica
- "Pinetop" Perkins -- piano
- Willie "Big Eyes" Smith -- drums
- none known
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: "Unk" In the Funk
Country/State: Issaquena, Mississippi
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: --
One of Muddy Water's final studio albums for Chess Records, on the surface 1974's ""Unk" In the Funk" appeared to be an effort to market the blues legend to a a new generation of fans. For anyone thinking this set was going to find Waters delving into funk (similar to what he'd done with psychedelia a couple of years earlier), the title and marketing were at best misleading. Musically the album offered up a mixture of re-recorded Waters standards, lesser known original and covers, and a couple of new tunes. The results weren't anything ground breaking, but backed by Waters' longstanding recording and touring band it was fun to hear the 61 year old was still a master of the blues. These guys were clearly comfortable with one another and the updated versions of classics and lesser known originals like 'Rollin' and Tumblin'', 'Just To Be with You', and Trouble No More' were consistently enjoyable. Frankly I liked Waters' older and deeper vocals on the updates. Newer material like 'Katie' and 'Waterboy Waterboy' was pleasant, but forgettable. Co-written by Waters granddaughter Ameila Cooper and Terry Abrahamson 'Electric Man' and the title track were simply forgettable. The collection was brief; barely thirty minutes, but it wasn't bad. Actually a good way to explore Water's mid-'70s activities.
In the Funk" track listing:
1.) Rollin' and Tumblin' (McKI\inley Morganfield) - 7:28 rating: **** stars
Goodness knows how many versions of 'Rollin' and Tumblin'' exist. This version was interesting in that you can hear the band actually recording the song twice; about halfway in you can hear Waters telling the band to "come on in." The performances were energetic, and while they may not have surpassed earlier recordings, it generated quite a bit of energy. Judging by the patented, slashing guitar sound, it was also the only track featuring Waters on lead guitar.
2.) Just To Be with You (Berney Roth) - 3:55 rating: **** stars
Originally recorded and released as a 1956 single (Chess catalog number 1644), the updated version featured a cleaner sound and Waters deeper (and older) voice. Classic slice of the blues that even non-fans should be able to enjoy. My goodness the man could sing.
3.) Electric Man (Amelia Cooper - Terry Abrahamson) - 3:10 rating: *** stars
One of two new tracks written by Ameilia Cooper (Waters' grandaughter) and Terry Abrahamson, 'Electric Man' was a stand blues number with some funny, not particularly subtle double entendre lyrics. Carey Bell Harrington on harmonica. I stumbled across a blog post where Terry Abrahamson talked about the song: "
4.) Trouble No More (McKinley Morganfield) - 2:40 rating: **** stars
Even if your not a blues fans, its hard not to be enchanted by this track. The updated version speeds the song up a notch and Waters' vocals are a little deeper. Little Walter handled harmonica on the original. The updated version featured George Buford. Might be worth buying the album just for this song. YouTube has a performance of the song recorded at the August 1981 ChicagoFest: Muddy Waters - Trouble No More - ChicagoFest 1981 - YouTube
1.) "Unk" In the Funk (Amelia Cooper - Terry Abrahamson) - 3:22 rating: *** stars
Another track co-written by his granddaughter, this was another patented slice of Chicago blues ... Listening to the lyrics it was easy to see why Waters was willing to record it.
2.) Drive My Blues Away (McKinley Morganfield) - 2:48 rating: *** stars
Showcasing "Pinetop" Perkins on piano and Harrington on harmonica, 'Drive My Blues Away' featured a wonderful solo, I think it was Bob Margolin, but could have been Luther Johnson. Nice.
3.) Katie (McKInley Morganfield) - 3:04 rating: *** stars
One of Waters' new songs (reportedly inspired by one of Waters' girldfriends), 'Katie' wasn't groundbreaking. A fairly routine blues number, it did showcased a blazing Johnson solo.
4.) Waterboy Waterboy (McKInley Morganfield) - 4:00 rating: *** stars
Another new track, 'Waterboy Waterboy' showcased Perkins' keyboards, but again failed to do anything to expand Waters repetoire, or reputation.
5.) Everything Gonna Be Alright (Walter Jacobs) - 3:35 rating: *** stars
Little Walter's original is better, but Waters' version of 'Everything Gonna Be Alright' was a breezy, easy-going way to end the set. The secret sauce on this one was Calvin Jones' melodic bassline,
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