Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Hard Again
Epic/Blue Sky/Legacy


I'm Ready
Epic/Blue Sky/Legacy


King Bee
Epic/Blue Sky/Legacy

Even at Medicare age, this blues titan could rock the rocking chair

In October 1976, separated from Chess Records at age 61 after three decades, indefatigable blues campaigner Muddy Waters commenced a series of three studio albums plus one live one with fan-turned-colleague-turned-benefactor and producer Johnny Winter. Once upon a time, these were distilled onto a now-discontinued best-of called Blues Sky that's worth seeking out. But you can be satisfied by the first of the newly reissued three, Hard Again, in which all-star musicians and fresh prospects stimulate the excitement promised in the title. With Waters in virile voice and the band ripping it up, even the bonus cut rocks. And while neither follow-up is as juicy, both are more potent than anything we're getting from Mick Jagger, who once cited Muddy as proof he could go like 60 when he hit 60.

Blender, June/July 2004