“Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981” is the official release of a long-bootlegged 1981 concert of Muddy Waters and other blues artists performing with most of the members of the Rolling Stones
As previously reported, the release is on DVD, CD and vinyl LP (all on Eagle Rock Entertainment) and has been mixed and mastered by Bob Clearmountain. The show will be available in three packages:
- DVD only
- DVD/2-CD combo (limited edition)
- DVD/2-CD/3-LP combo (limited edition) – U.S. release date: September 11, 2012
The all-star concert took place on November 22, 1981, at the Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago, during a time when the Rolling Stones were in the city for their 1981 North American tour.
The show features Waters performing with Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards, guitarist Ronnie Wood and keyboardist Ian Stewart. Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts and bass player Bill Wyman (who was in the band at the time) are not part of the show.
Other musicians who performed at the show included Buddy Guy (vocals, guitar); Lefty Dizz (vocals, guitar); Junior Wells (harmonica, vocals); George Mojo Buford (harmonica); Lovie Lee (piano); Earnest Johnson (bass); Ray Allison (drums); John Primer (guitar); Rick Kreher (guitar); Nick Charles (bass).
The Rolling Stones, which originally started as a blues band, were famously named after Waters’ 1950 song “Rollin’ Stone.”
At this point in the Rolling Stones’ career, the Stones were legends playing stadium-sized venues, so it’s definitely a treat to see the band members performing in a small club and being at times awestruck by musicians whom they consider greater than themselves.
Jagger, Richards and Wood don’t make an appearance at the concert until “Baby Please Don’t Go.” They made their entrance, accompanied by their girlfriends and other members of their entourage, by walking through the crowded club to their center table. Perhaps the Stones had no idea what would happen next.
Waters called Jagger (dressed in a red track suit) up on the stage, and it wasn’t long before Richards joined them, by climbing on the table to get to the stage, with a cigarette in his hand. Waters then called out, “Ron Wood!” And Wood was soon on stage joining in on the jam too, as Jagger shimmied around on stage, clearly in blues heaven.
During “Hoochie Coochie Man,” Jagger punctuated the songs with several exclamations of “Oh yeah!” and “That’s right!”
Things slowed down a bit for “Long Distance Call,” but then heated up again for “Mannish Boy.” Jagger, Richards and Wood, in the presence of one of their idols, were clearly thrilled to act as a backup band to Waters. The stage started to get crowded when blues icon Guy and other musicians joined in on “Mannish Boy.”
On “Got My Mojo Workin’,” Jagger stepped down from the stage, and Guy took over on vocals for “Next Time You See Me,” accompanied by Stewart on piano.
For “One Eyed Woman,” Waters joked, “I’ve got an ugly woman …” but “Mick’s got pretty women.”
Toward the end of the show Jagger came back on stage for “Champagne and Reefer,” capping off a memorable night for the Stones.
There are two songs that are bonus footage: “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone” (which does not have any of the Rolling Stones performing on it) from the Checkerboard Lounge that night, and an unrelated video clip of the Stones performing “Black Limousine” live at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia, in 1981. The reason why the “Black Limousine” clip seems to have been included is the tenuous connection that it was from the same year as the Checkerboard Lounge show. (Hampton is thousands of miles from Chicago.)
Here is the track listing for Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981″:
1. Sweet Little Angel
2. Flip Flop and Fly
3. Muddy Waters Introduction
4. You Don’t Have to Go
5. Country Boy
6. Baby Please Don’t Go
7. Hoochie Coochie Man
8. Long Distance Call
9. Mannish Boy
10. Got My Mojo Working
11. Next Time You See Me
12. One Eyed Woman
13. Baby Please Don’t Go (instrumental)
14. Blow Wind Blow
15. Champagne & Reefer
1. You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone
2. Black Limousine
1. Introduction Instrumental
2. You Don’t Have to Go
3. Baby Please Don’t’ Go
4. Hoochie Coochie Man
5. Long Distance Call
6. Mannish Boy
7. Got My Mojo Working
8. Next Time You See Me
9. One Eyed Woman
10. Blow Wind Blow
11. Champagne & Reefer