Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie Musselwhite
The Well

Alligator Records (B003TYOABO)

By Georgetown Fats
September 2010

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Scheduled to be released on August 24th, 2010 back with Alligator Records since 1993, Charlie Musselwhite’s latest offering “The Well” puts the legendary Alligator Record label back with “The Ace of Harps”. Reunited and it sounds so damn good. “The Well” contains thirteen tracks of autobiographical material covering early days in Mississippi, complimented by succinct liner note for each track.

Opening with the mid-tempo shuffle “Rambler’s Blues”, testifies to his love of the open road. As Musselwhite attests in the liner notes, this song reflects some of his earliest desires and passions to roam the world over. Musselwhite’s effortless and mellow vocal style continue his matter-of-fact delivery detail how he “rolls in with the dust, and out with the wind”.

Musselwhite treats the listening to a geography lesson, delta style, on ‘Where Highway 61 Runs”. Part updated rendition of the Musselwhite classic “The Blues Overtook Me” part aural Mississippi Delta Tourism brochure, Musselwhite proves that though he his home base may be in San Francisco his heart and soul will always be in Delta.

With the help of his long-time friend Mavis Staples, Musselwhite’s offers a heart-wrenching piece on missed opportunities and guilt after the loss of his mother. Having lost his mother to a murder in Memphis, Musselwhite obviously carries considerable pain from the incident and has the skills of offer this cathartic piece. Though Staple’s vocal melody is restrained to match Musselwhite’s delivery her soulful gospel voice shines throughout.

Though Musselwhite does carry himself southern gentleman way, there was a time earlier in his life when personal demons allowed him to run afoul of the law. This time in particular, Musselwhite details being sentenced due to a cop who had lied about his case. Having only been introduced to Charlie Musselwhite in his southern senior years it is another poignant piece on the emotional scars inflicted over his hard living phase of life.

Approaching his 67th year, though Musselwhite has carved out a secondary career as an in-demand session player and harmonica clinician, with the release of “The Well” Musselwhite proves he still has many more stories to tell and stops on the road.

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