Published Aug 19, 20142013 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Muddy Waters, the recognized father of the Chicago blues sound. For Pops was conceived as a tribute to mark that milestone, even though it surfaces a mite late. As the title indicates, Muddy's son, Mud Morganfield, who at 60 is a recognised performer on the blues circuit himself, spearheaded the collection. Joining him on the project is another respected bluesman, harpist Kim Wilson of Fabulous Thunderbirds fame, plus a notable cast of players that includes guitar ace Rusty Zinn (a former Wilson sideman).
Together, they do a very credible job of reprising material from Waters' extensive catalogue (the bulk of the songs were written by Waters or Willie Dixon). It's far from a Greatest Hits collection, and tunes like "Mannish Boy," "Got My Mojo Working" and "Hoochie Coochee Man" are conspicuous by their absence. Still, the inclusion of some lesser-known gems from the Waters' canon is valuable. The sessions were recorded live off the floor, resulting in a suitably spirited vibe. Morganfield's vocal style happily bears more than a passing resemblance to that of his pops, while Wilson's harmonica work is typically expressive ("She's Got It" is a standout showcase for his blowing). Lovers of the classic Chicago style will find plenty to enjoy on this timely testimony to the genius of Muddy Waters. (Severn)