Charlie Musselwhite’s last Alligator recording “100 Years of Blues” was recorded with Elvin Bishop and the album resulted in Blues Music Awards for both Album of The Year and Traditional Blues Album. Musselwhite has also been the winner of the Traditional Blues Male Artist and he continues to display his song writing and selection on this new collection. On the opening original “Blues Up the River” Musselwhite sings “rolling down to the Gulf, I’m gonna drink Muddy Water till I had enough”. Barry Bays plays acoustic standup bass and Ricky “Quicksand” Martin plays drums. Produced by Gary Vincent and Henri Musselwhite “In Your Darkest Hour” and “Stingaree” are performed with Charlie playing both acoustic guitar and harmonica. Bays and Martin are back again both on Yank Rachell’s “Hobo Blues” learned from John Lee Hooker and on another original “When the Frisco Left the Shed”.
Charlie pays tribute to Big Joe Williams on two songs the first is an instrumental with him on one of Williams’ old guitars. The second is a cover of Joe Williams’ “Crawling King Snake”. Other covers include Guy Clark’s “The Dark” and he turns it into a blues, and Charley Patton’s “Pea Vine Blues” again with the rhythm section. “Drifting from Town to Town” is another autobiographical song. “Rank Strangers” is an old Stanley Brothers bluegrass tune Charlie “blues’d” up. “A Voice Foretold” Charlie learned from The Blind Boys of Alabama”.
On “Blues Gave Me a Ride” Charlie sings about time spent in Clarksdale again with support from the rhythm section and more harmonica playing. Musselwhite is the winner of twenty Blues Music Awards for Best Instrumentalist harmonica. Of his fifty nominations he has won 66% of the time. No one other than Charlie can boast those numbers. Charlie learned from guys like Furry Lewis, Will Shade, Willie Borum, and Earl Bell. His first album “Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite’s South Side Band” was released sometime around 1962. That’s almost fifty years ago. Charlie says all of the songs whether original or covers “are an extension of me”.
Contributing Editor/Making A Scene