At three CDs and a generous 78 tracks, this set from U.K. reissue specialist Not Now Music does a good job of capturing the great early years of Muddy Waters
on the various Chess imprints in the late 1940s and into the '50s when he was masterfully creating and defining the sturdy template for electric Chicago blues. This is wonderful stuff, recorded when Waters
was at the very top of his game, turning out side after side of raw but somehow still elegant blues tracks like 1947’s “Little Anna Mae” and “Gypsy Woman,” 1951’s “Honey Bee,” 1948’s “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” and 1956’s “Forty Days and Forty Nights,” to name just a few of the many classic tracks collected here. Muddy Waters
was always Muddy Waters
throughout his long career, but the Chess years covered here find him at his most vital.