First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2004, Volume 11, #10
Written by John Metzger
King Bee, the fourth collaboration between Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter, was the very last studio album that the blues legend recorded before his death in 1983. While the collection is unquestionably solid, it also unfortunately is a somewhat uneven affair that suffers under the weight of Watersí fading health as well as the financial disputes with his manager and his backing band. In fact, Winter was unable to garner enough material out of the ensemble to craft a complete album, and as a result, the final package included several leftovers from the sessions for Hard Again. Thatís not to say that there arenít a few terrific moments ó such as the snarling Too Young to Know, the percolating groove of Mean Old Frisco Blues, and the smoldering Sad Sad Day ó but overall, King Bee was one of Watersí lesser works simply because the musicians seemed out of synch with one another throughout much of the set. Not surprisingly, there are only a pair of bonus tracks featured on the reissue, though itís puzzling as to why Clouds in My Heart was omitted from the original album. Itís a sterling representation of Waters at his best, performing the blues with all the naked emotion that is missing from large portions of the King Bee sessions.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box