Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie Musselwhite
Juke Joint Chapel

Henrietta Records

By Georgetown Fats
February 2014

Most folks hitting their seventh decade have slowed down their life styles and embraced their ‘retired’ lifestyle. From the opening strains of Juke Joint Chapel, it is clear that the great Charlie Musselwhite isn’t interested in slowing down or allowing his live show to become a parody of the once great shows of other blues legends who now have progressed beyond legend status into brands. Whether it be his constant reinvention of his own tunes, or his ability to surround himself with the best live players available to him, Charlie Musselwhite is still the real deal and always worth the price of admission.

Though one of my knocks on Buddy Guy is his insistence on playing far too much cover material, in the hands of a master like Charlie Musselwhite, opening a recording with a cover of Eddie Taylor’s “Bad Boy” is just right. While keeping the shuffle feel, Musselwhite and company apply almost a jazz-like level of nuance to this great track. It breaths just enough originality into this old cover.

On Musselwhite’s classic “Blues Overtook Me,” rather than churn out the same tune heard on countless recordings and countless bar band covers, Musselwhite, aided by the soulful playing of Matt Stubbs on guitar, adds a hefty dose of swing into an old blues/rock chestnut.

Closing out Juke Joint Chapel with a “live” recorded version of the instrumental “Cristo Redentor,” is about all you need to hear to ever pay for a ticket to see the man and his band play live. Dynamics, ebbs, flows and the byproduct of talented musicians all locking in together to be a part of a groove at all there and it is amazing piece of recorded music. While each member of the band is perfectly capable of “shredding,” the assembled finesse is awe-inspiring. I’ve heard this track done by Musselwhite’s band live a few times and hung on every note, and on Juke Joint Chapel that feel has been converted to a live recording setting.

While there are a lot of carry-over tracks from Musselwhite’s Rough Dried-Live at the Triple Door, the content on Juke Joint Chapel will make a great addition to any Charlie Musselwhite or blues fan’s collection.

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