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Charlie Musselwhite
Jazz Cafe - May 2006
Review Ricardo,
Photos Dave Peabody

BB KIng - Lucille guitar illustration

Charlie Hussles Right! The Last time I went to see Charlie at The Jazz Cafe it was around the time his 'Sanctuary' album came out. That night he played on his own, mostly on guitar, and my mate Livo, who before that night had never even heard of him was blown away by how good he was.

With another new CD out - 'Delta Hardware' - Charlie's back and this time he brought the excellent band that feature on that album - Chris "Kid" Andersen on guitar, Randy Bermudes on Bass and June Core on Drums.

The press release for the record talks about Charlie going back to his roots and name checks R.L. Burnside, T Model Ford, Jimbo Mathus and The North Mississippi All-Stars amongst others. When word of a new, 'raw, tough, edgy, kick-ass album' from one of the all-time greats first reached us here at Blues In London Towers we were excited, to say the least, but while it's a pretty good record it somehow slightly fails to live up to expectations.

Happily, I can report that live, there is no such dissappointment. The band is so good, and Charlie so owns the stage, the song, the room. The blues is about belief, and we BELEIVE when we see him play. There's no funny dressing up, no pyrotechincs, no-nonsense... but they totally nail what a four piece stripped down raw blues band is supposed to nail. Charlie may not have the flashy technique of other big name harp players but he has a fluidity and inventiveness, and soul, that makes him stand out.

BB KIng - Lucille guitar illustration

 

With this band he's doing the stripped down no-nonsense thing that seems to be the fashion these days, but while he's able to adapt other styles (check out 'Continental Drifter') it's always been without losing his essential Charlie Musselwhiteness. "He's the Robert DeNiro of the Blues" observed Vince Velour. Nobody plays like him, and tonight he was playing as good as it gets.

Livo had bought a ticket but had to drop out at the last minute due to the toad work, but another debutant mate, Steve - Northern Indie Rock enthusist and occasional Bluesinlonon photographer - was dragged along and blown away. "Seriously, I'm so impressed" I think he meant to say 'Drunk', but you get the idea anyway.

 
The new one  

 

 
The last one  
 
The First one  

Delta Hardware review here >>

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