Muddy Waters

Band members                             Related acts

  line up

- 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





Genre: blues

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  "Unk" In the Funk

Company: Chess

Catalog:  CH 60031

Country/State: Issaquena, Mississippi

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $35.0

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.


""Unk" In the Funk" track listing:
(side 1)

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:  "In 1973, driving in a car with George Thorogood and me, Delta Blues hero Jim Brewer was remarking on his interest in a lady at the concert he and George had just finished: Id surely like to plug into her. I started vamping: The men call me Jim; the women call me Electric Man. When I plug into your socket, Ill charge you like no-one else can."  A few weeks later, I ran it by Muddy, who swapped his name in for Jim and made it the first of three songs I wrote that are actually on Muddy Waters records!!!  So keep your eyes, ears and mind open. Inspiration comes from everywhere, and it can take you anywhere."

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


(side 2)

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,