When Muddy Waters appeared at Newport Jazz Festival he had several US R&B hits to his name and had also performed in the UK. But in his native US, he was still more used to playing juke joints on Chicago’s south side than performing at festivals. Newport was important as it introduced him to a white home audience and the album captures the trepidation then excitement that came with that. A bragging Hoochie Coochie Man and swinging Baby Please Don’t Go work up the audience before Feel So Good and a two-part Got My Mojo Working has them screaming and dancing in the aisles as Waters’ soulful baritone, James Cotton’s wailing harmonica and Otis Spann’s pounding piano drive them into submission. At Newport is significant not just as a vital document of live Chicago electric blues but also for the effect it had on listeners, particularly in the UK where it was a catalyst for the creation of British blues. Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated covered his I Got My Brand On You and Tiger In Your Tank on R&B From The Marquee in 1962, generally regarded as the first British blues album. It was also the first album bought by one Mick Jagger. JH
Runners-up: Miles Davis Sketches Of Spain, John Coltrane Giant Steps, Joan Baez Joan Baez, Etta James At Last!, The Ventures Walk Don’t Run.