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In 1968, Chess Records' lesser known subsidiary Checker Records engaged in an interesting experiment. Perhaps inspired by similar blues supergroups such as Cream and Steampacket, or 1964's Two Great Guitars, which paired Bo Diddley recording alongside Chuck Berry, Checker brought together some of the best artists in their roster - Diddley, Muddy Waters, and Little Walter - to combine their talents into an album of hard-hitting, soulful Chicago Blues. The three bluesmen were brought together by legendary R&B producer Ralph Bass to record Super Blues, an informal jam session which featured a backing band of blues greats such as Buddy Guy on guitar, and Otis Spann on piano. Critics remain divided over the merits of Super Blues as an album, but most agree it occupies a remarkable place in history both as an experiment and as a shape of things to come. Recorded at a time when electric blues' influence on the mainstream was at it's height, shades of Waters & Bo's future proto-funk experimentation can be heard throughout Super Blues' rough-at-the-seams, yet still loose and relaxed tracks. The main players sound as strong as ever, as impromptu vocals and humorous asides are tossed into off-kilter re-workings of classic tracks like Diddley's "I'm A Man", Waters' "I Just Want To Make Love To You", and Walter's "My Babe". A truly unique release to come from the ranks of Chess, Super Blues is a rare glimpse at three blues powerhouses from within the studio itself. Tracks : SIDE A 1. Long Distance Call 2. Who Do You Love 3. I m A Man 4. Bo Diddley SIDE B 5. You Can t Judge A Book By The Cover 6. I Just Want To Make Love To You 7. My Babe 8. You Don t Love Me
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My review comes with the full knowledge that this album and the Super, Super Blues album which followed later are probably two of the most panned blues albums ever released. Well, I'm one person who definitely bucks the crowd with my high opinion of both.
Is there a CD version that includes the entire, uncut "LONG DISTANCE CALL" as it was on the vinyl release?
On paper, It sounds pretty cool. Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and Little Walter join forces to record some of their greatest hits. The album is not as good as it sounds though. There is bizarre shouting by enthusiastic women. They aren't singing along, they're just shouting. There is interactions between Waters, Walter and Diddley during the songs which is fun to hear. This heightens the experimental aspect of the album. Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley do sound like they're getting into the proceedings. Little Walter on the other hand sounds very sick. He has an ailing raspy voice. At times it aches to hear him straining to get the words out on 'My Babe' and 'You Don't Love Me'. He is clearly ill during this recording and he died a short time later at only 37.
I can't say this is a great album.. I give it 4 stars because of the remastering job done by Get On Down.
The length of these songs match the length of the songs on the Chess/MCA 1992 CD. "Long Distance Call' still fades out at around 5 minutes in. I don't know if there are longer versions or even bonus tracks available to Get On Down to add to their releases. None of their releases have bonuses or extended mixes, just great sound.
It is still good to see such an oddity available again.