Where To Start With… Muddy Waters

by Alec Plowman, Apr 3, 2018 . 3 min read

Where To Start With… Muddy Waters

April 4th marks the birthday of one of the all time blues guitar greats, Muddy Waters. If you want to learn to play blues guitar, heck, if you want to learn to play guitar full stop, then Muddy’s back catalog is a must.

But, where do you start? Muddy Waters was a prolific recording artist, and a bewildering array of studio albums, live albums and compilations of his material are currently on the market.

That’s where this guide comes in. Here are three of the best albums from Muddy Waters currently available. They’re a fitting introduction to one of the blues’ most notable forces, and offer plenty of amazing blues guitar lessons for those serious about mastering the craft.

So, let’s jump in. Here are three great Muddy Waters albums guaranteed to get your mojo workin’.


With the concept of a blues “album” not really cemented until the late 1960s, most of Muddy Waters’ seminal early offerings were released as singles. This three disc, 75 song “Anthology” compilation is a pretty exhaustive run through of Big Mud’s classic material, recorded during his first couple of decades as a performer on Chess records.

The titles speak for themselves: “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Got My Mojo Workin’”, “I Just Wanna Make Love To You,” “Rollin’ Stone,” “Can’t Be Satisfied,” “I’m Ready…” All are undisputed blues classics that had a profound impact on the likes of Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and pretty much every 1960s British blues-rock guitarist.

Sure, “Anthology” is a no-frills set as far as packaging goes, but it’s got it where it counts. And, getting this much music for under $10, you can’t really argue.

Buy “Anthology”

Muddy Waters at Newport 1960

Muddy Waters’ set at the legendary 1960 Newport Jazz Festival is, in itself, the stuff of legend. Rightly regarded as Waters’ best album it’s an incendiary performance that thoroughly rocked the mellow jazzers that attended Newport. Ably backed by Otis Spann on piano, and James Cotton on harp, Big Mud doesn’t play guitar on much of this set. But, his vocal performance is phenomenal, as is his crowd interaction. Stunning versions of “Hoochie Coochie” Man and “Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Got My Mojo Workin’” was so good, they played it twice!

Buy “Muddy Waters At Newport 1960”

Hard Again

As Muddy purists will tell you, the blues master went through something of a rough patch in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, producing a number of second tier records that didn’t live up to his formidable reputation (with 1968’s psychedelic leaning “Electric Mud” – a shameless attempt by Chess to cash in on the booming San Francisco rock sound – probably the low point).

But, 1977’s “Hard Again” was the album that turned it all around for Big Mud. Working for a new label (Blue Sky) and with a new producer (Johnny Winter) clearly revitalized the musician. Cutting the record in three days, it was back to basics blues brilliance from Muddy and his band, particularly notable for a standout rendition of “Mannish Boy.”

Buy “Hard Again”

What are your favorite Muddy Waters albums? Sound off in the comments.

Get our free Alternate Tunings Guide!
Get Roadie Tuner

Check out some other similar articles

New year, New reviews? But wait, before we officially welcome 2020, let’s look back at some of our favorite reviews of 2019.

Tamara Habchi
Jan 8, 2020 . 3 min read

In this edition of Roadie Spotlight, we’re checking out the Japanese guitar virtuoso ichika [sic] who has taken the Internet by storm with his amazing skills.

Frederik Nielsen
Dec 31, 2019 . 3 min read

Not all stars are plastered across social media. Some manage to create a buzz without resorting to self-aggrandizing promotion techniques. 

Frederik Nielsen
Dec 24, 2019 . 3 min read

We’re almost at the end of 2019 and thought we’d round off the year with more spotlights on great guitarists that we come across online.

Frederik Nielsen
Dec 20, 2019 . 3 min read

Annie Plays Guitar is a name that has popped up on social media for the past few years. We’ve had a listen to Annie Wagstaff’s music and also looked at her new project HANNIE in this edition of Roadie Spotlight.

Frederik Nielsen
Dec 16, 2019 . 3 min read

We’re once more putting the spotlight of some of our favorite artists here on the Roadie blog. Some of them are famous, others are emerging — but all of them are amazing.

Frederik Nielsen
Dec 5, 2019 . 2 min read

Ever wondered what equipment some of the greatest guitarists of all time used?

Then look no further.

Frederik Nielsen
Oct 30, 2019 . 4 min read

Today’s Roadie Spotlight series will introduce Adam Nitti, a world-renown bassist, music teacher, composer, and recording artist.

Randall Nashleanas
Aug 9, 2019 . 3 min read

Roadie Tuner has received much support from musicians all over the world, as they share their personal preferences and opinions on how they use Roadie products.

Frederik Nielsen
Jul 10, 2019 . 2 min read

While it’s true that the music industry can often seem like a young person’s game, there are more than a handful guitarists who made it later in life.

Frederik Nielsen
Jul 4, 2019 . 3 min read

Western and non-western civilizations across the globe contain a plethora of various genres of music. Although these cultures aren’t universally on the same page – music is the universal language.

Randall Nashleanas
Jun 21, 2019 . 5 min read

Ice-T is a legend. Not only can he claim to be the Godfather of Gangsta Rap, but he’s also very convincing as a TV cop.

Frederik Nielsen
Jun 11, 2019 . 3 min read

The beauty of being a musician is that the only musician you can be…is you. Jimi Hendrix left-handedly pioneered blues and rock guitar styles of playing with a head full of lucy.

Randall Nashleanas
Jun 10, 2019 . 3 min read

Happy Father’s Day! Hopefully you’ve got a really cool present (like a Roadie 2) from your kids,

Frederik Nielsen
Jun 9, 2019 . 4 min read

The variety of guitars available goes far beyond acoustic or electric. From its humble beginnings as a lute,

Natalie Hagen
Apr 13, 2019 . 1 min read

We have received a lot of love from Roadie fans over the past years, so we thought we would give some back. We’ll put the

Frederik Nielsen
Mar 11, 2019 . 2 min read

Although women by no means are under-represented in the music industry, female instrumentalists are not quite as common as we’d like them to be –

Frederik Nielsen
Mar 7, 2019 . 4 min read

Grunge is not dead! It’s been almost three decades since the heyday of ‘90s grunge. But, grunge bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam

Alec Plowman
Mar 1, 2019 . 3 min read

One more time then! We’ve already outlined six of the best albums of 2018 in the previous entries to this series. But, the party ain’t over yet!

Alec Plowman
Feb 21, 2019 . 4 min read

This week, “Vicious,” the new record from Halestorm has featured heavily on the Roadie office playlist. If you’ve

Alec Plowman
Aug 10, 2018 . 3 min read
We'll be bringing you recommended tabs and plenty of interesting quotes from guitar legends along the way!