By the time Muddy Waters reached the 1970s, it seemed as though the fuzzed-out blend of Chicago Blues he pioneered, and the electric British blues he inspired had surpassed him. The 1970s would also see the release of his final albums with Chess Records, and would prove that Waters hadn’t lost step in spite of his age. Fresh off his acclaimed London Sessions, (Which saw the Mississippi native work alongside Steve Winwood of Traffic & Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience) 1973 brought Can’t Get No Grindin’ which was a welcome return to the rugged, slide-guitar blues that originally defined the bluesman, after experimenting with psychedelia, brass blow-outs, and other forays.
Can’t Get No Grindin’ is a classic showcase of Waters’ raw power as a musician, and is every bit as sharp and edgy as the primal blues he became famous for in the 1950s. Whether remakes of classics like “Mother’s Bad Luck Child”, newer compositions such as “Love Weapon” or the often-covered “Garbage Man”, or instrumental jams like “After Hours”, Waters dominates each track without resorting to electronic studio gimmickry or celebrity guest appearances. Much of Grindin’s backing band would collaborate with Waters the following year on 1974’s Unk In Funk, and when you hear the tight cohesion between Waters and the players, (Particularly Pinetop Perkins’ swift call-and-response piano/ organ-work) it’s easy to see why.
Energetic and filled with vigor, Can’t Get No Grindin’ was an underrated album for its time, and today stands tall alongside the strongest of Waters’ releases. Though he was just entering his 60s, Grindin’ showed that Waters still had what it took, and was still a master in his field.