Sound — 7
You want an all star cast playing some of the best blues songs in history? Well, you've found it here. Recorded in 1974, the album contains performances by Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts (of the Stones), Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield (of Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Bob Dylan), Paul Butterfield, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Steve Winwood (Traffic), Otis Spann, and Ian Stewart (Rolling Stones session player), and never ceases to punch the listener with the fury of the Chicago blues. Praises aside, the album lacks one important thing - the character that the original releases by Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters possess. A good listen nonetheless, Muddy & The Wolf flops on the feeling and attempts to make up for it through the musicianship.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are the kind of words you'd expect an old bluesman to sing (or in Wolf's case, howl). The way they mesh with the music, however, gives the simple lyrics a life beyond paper. Characterised by Clapton's and/or Bloomfield's guitar licks, the lyrics become a window into the singer's soul; that's something hard to come by in music.
Overall Impression — 7
Muddy & The Wolf should be bought out of pure curiosity, the curiosity of wanting to hear these rock and blues greats come together and play. Waters and Wolf give lackluster performances that even the all star cast can't support. The strongest point of the record is the electrifying "Highway 49", easily the strongest track on the album. That song alone is worth listening through all the muted blues of the first ten or so tracks. A flat homage to blues homage, Muddy & The Wolf is not required listening, but it is an interesting one.