Hard Again is a studio album by American blues singer Muddy Waters. Released on January 10, 1977, it was the first of his albums produced by Johnny Winter.[1] Hard Again was Waters's first album on Blue Sky Records after leaving Chess Records and was well received by critics.

Hard Again
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 10, 1977 (1977-01-10)[1]
RecordedOctober 1976[2]
GenreChicago blues
LabelBlue Sky
ProducerJohnny Winter[2]
Muddy Waters chronology
The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album
Hard Again
I'm Ready

Background edit

In August 1975, Chess Records was sold to All Platinum Records and became a reissue label only. Waters left sometime after this, and did not record any new studio material until he signed with Johnny Winter's Blue Sky label in October 1976.

Recording edit

Hard Again was recorded in three days. Producing the session was Johnny Winter and engineering the sessions was Dave Still – who previously engineered Johnny's brother Edgar, Foghat, and Alan Merrill. Waters used his touring band of the time, consisting of guitarist Bob Margolin, pianist Pinetop Perkins, and drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Other backing members during the sessions were harmonicist James Cotton and bassist Charles Calmese, who performed with both Johnny Winter and James Cotton in the past.[2]

Songs edit

Three of the songs on the album – "Mannish Boy", "I Want to Be Loved", and "I Can't Be Satisfied" – were re-recordings of songs that were previously recorded for Chess Records. One song, "The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock and Roll, Pt. 2", was co-written with Brownie McGhee and another song, "Bus Driver", was co-written with Terry Abrahamson.

An outtake from the recording sessions, "Walking Through the Park", appeared on the 2004 Legacy Recordings reissue CD, while several more unused tracks appeared on King Bee in 1981.

Reception edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
Blender     [4]
Christgau's Record GuideA−[5]
Down Beat     [6]
Q     [6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [7]
The Village VoiceA[8]
The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings    [9]

The album was well received by music critics. John Quaintance of Yahoo! Music called it "a remarkable album" and a "return to form" for Muddy Waters, commenting that "Johnny Winter, ... James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins, Bob Margolin, Charles Calmese and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith are all thrilled to be in the same room with Muddy, and it shows, as they lay down a serious foundation for the old master who struts and brags like it's 1950 again."[10] Q called it "a guaranteed delight" for "students of the post-war blues", while Down Beat stated, "Singing, [Muddy is] playful and proud, brawny and insistent, his free-flow of inspiration spreading to his superlative road band".[6] Dan Oppenheimer of Rolling Stone magazine said that "Mannish Boy" sounded like it was recorded live,[11] while both Oppenheimer and Daniel Gioffre of Allmusic state how powerful Willie "Big Eyes" Smith's drumming is.[3][11] Oppenheimer and Gioffre both share the opinion that Hard Again is Muddy Waters comeback album.[3][11] In The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Rolling Stone journalist Dave Marsh said "Johnny Winter provided the sensitive production touch otherwise lacking on some of [Muddy's] early '70s recordings."[7]

In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau attributed the record's intense quality to "the natural enthusiasm of an inspired collaboration", and remarked on its standing in Chicago blues, "except maybe for B.B. King's Live at the Regal and Otis Spann's Walking the Blues (oh, there must be others, but let me go on) I can't recall a better blues album than this."[8] In a later review for Blender, the critic found Muddy Waters to be in "virile voice" and commented that "all-star musicians and fresh prospects stimulate the excitement promised in the title."[4]

Charts and awards edit

Hard Again peaked at #143 on the Billboard 200, which was his first appearance on the chart since Fathers and Sons in 1969.[12] The album won the Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording the year of its release.[13]

Track listing edit

All tracks are composed by Muddy Waters (listed as McKinley Morganfield), except where noted.

Side one
1."Mannish Boy"Morganfield, Ellas McDaniel, Mel London5:23
2."Bus Driver"Morganfield, Terry Abrahamson7:44
3."I Want to Be Loved"Willie Dixon2:20
4."Jealous Hearted Man" 4:23
5."I Can't Be Satisfied" 3:28
Side two
1."The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock and Roll, Pt. 2"Morganfield, Brownie McGhee3:35
2."Deep Down in Florida" 5:25
3."Crosseyed Cat" 5:59
4."Little Girl" 7:06
2004 Epic CD reissue extra track
10."Walking Through the Park"3:55
Total length:49:42

Personnel edit

The following contributed to Hard Again:[2]



Release history edit

Region Date Label Format Catalog
U.S. January 10, 1977 Blue Sky LP PZ 34449
U.K. 1977 Blue Sky LP SKY 32357
Europe 1977 Blue Sky LP SKY 81853
Australia 1977 CBS LP SBP 234953
U.S. 1987 Blue Sky CD ZK 34449
Cassette PZT 34449
U.S. 2004 Epic/Legacy CD EK 86817
Europe 2004 Epic/Legacy CD EPC 515161 2

References edit

  1. ^ a b Williams, Jean (January 22, 1977). "Soul Sauce". Billboard. p. 62G. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d Hard Again (Expand Reissue) (CD liner). Muddy Waters. U.S.: Epic Records/Legacy Recordings. 2004 [1977]. 86817.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. ^ a b c Gioffre, Daniel. Review: Hard Again by Muddy Waters at AllMusic. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (June–July 2004). "Muddy Waters: "Hard Again"; "I'm Ready"; "King Bee"". Blender. Alpha Media Group. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: W". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 22, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  6. ^ a b c "Muddy Waters - Hard Again CD Album". CD Universe. Muze. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Marsh, Dave; et al. (November 2, 2004). Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 860–4. ISBN 0743201698.
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (March 21, 1977). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Archived from the original on August 15, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2012 – via robertchristgau.com.
  9. ^ Russell, Tony; Smith, Chris (2006). The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings. Penguin. p. 484. ISBN 978-0-140-51384-4.
  10. ^ Quaintance, John. "Muddy Waters Reviews". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Archived from the original on August 7, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c Oppenheimer, Dan (March 24, 1977). "Album Review: Hard Again by Muddy Waters". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  12. ^ "Charts & Awards: Muddy Waters – Billboard Albums". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  13. ^ Grammy Award Winners Search Engine Archived 2010-08-26 at the Wayback Machine. Type in "Muddy Waters" under Artist to see results.

External links edit