King Bee [Expanded]

King Bee [Expanded]

by Muddy WatersMuddy Waters


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King Bee was the last album Muddy Waters recorded. Coming last in a trio of triumphant studio outings, and produced by Johnny Winter, it is also a mixed bag -- literally. During the sessions for King Bee, Waters, his manager, and his band were all in dispute over money. According to the liner notes by guitarist Bob Margolin, who was the guitarist for the Muddy Waters Blues Band, the conflict arose form Waters' health being on the wane and him playing less. The bandmembers wanted more money for the fewer gigs they did play in order to make ends meet. Ultimately a split occurred and the band quit. Because of the tensions in the studio preceding the split,Winter felt the sessions had not produced enough solid material to yield an entire album. He subsequently filled out King Bee with outtakes from the Hard Again sessions. For the listener, King Bee is a leaner and meaner record. None of the good-time exuberance present on the previous two outings is present here. This is blues, direct and immediate, it's a snarling, growling album. And it's true the band appears to be a bit stilted on some of these tracks, but it's still a solid, wonderful record. The title track, "Mean Old Frisco," "Sad Sad Day," and "I Feel Like Going Home," are all solid, razor-sharp blues with killer ensemble work (with Margolin, Winter, Guitar Junior, Jerry Portnoy, Pinetop Perkins, Calvin Jones, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, and Charles Calmese in the band how could it sound anything short of awesome?) as well as Waters in fine voice. The Sony Legacy issue features completely remastered sound and Margolin's candid notes, but it also hosts two bonus tracks from the King Bee sessions that Winter didn't see fit to release the first time. There's a redo of "I Won't Go Down," a cut from the '50s that Waters sings in his lower baritone roar, and "Clouds in My Heart," a deep, long, sad blues that is one of the great unearthed treasures in Waters catalog. This cut alone with all of its deep emotion and the sound of a band trying to hold the storm of emotions in check and failing is a masterpiece and one of the most amazing blues tunes of the last 30 years. While King Bee may have been considered last and least of Waters' Columbia albums, it is more than worth reconsidering.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/01/2008
Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC: 0886972389127
catalogNumber: 723891
Rank: 30114

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Muddy Waters   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar
James Cotton   Harmonica
Johnny Winter   Guitar,Slide Guitar
Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson   Guitar
Bob Margolin   Guitar
Jerry Portnoy   Harmonica,Harp
Calvin "Fuzz" Jones   Bass,Bass Guitar
Charles Calmese   Bass,Bass Guitar
Pinetop Perkins   Piano
Willie "Big Eyes" Smith   Drums

Technical Credits

Johnny Winter   Producer,Audio Production
Bob Margolin   Liner Notes
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup   Composer
James Moore   Composer
McKinley Morganfield   Composer
Muddy Waters   Composer
Walker   Composer
Quaglieri   Reissue Producer
James Burke Oden   Composer
Josh Cheuse   Art Direction
H. Walker   Composer
Traditional   Composer
John Christiana   Packaging Manager,Package Manager
J. Moore   Composer

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