Ira Robbins
October 01, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Sonny Boy Williamson and Muddy Waters both hail from rural Mississippi, but it was in Chicago that each made his incalculable contribution to blues, R&B, and, by simple extension, rock & roll. With yin-yang precision, these two collections showcase the acoustic folk of wartime Delta blues and its electrified urban transformation in the ’50s. It doesn’t take any imagination to hear how the young Waters’ forceful singing and rhythmic guitar playing documented on The Plantation Recordings moved beyond tradition to become the gutsy, up-tempo R&B of Sonny Boy. ”Sonny Boy Williamson”: A; ”Plantation Recordings”: A+

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