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- Delta Hardware (Real world)
Review by Emily
rare for a contemporary blues musician to ride success all the way
through the 1980's and still come out doing well. But Charlie Musselwhite
is not your usual harp player. He plays songs that rip through your
ears like rapid fire bullets. Musselwhite is a massive one-fingered
salute to those who think they can still play Hoochie Coochie Man
and sound interesting.
Delta Hardware, Charlie's' latest offering, gets off to a bit of
a shaky start but Church Is Out is nonetheless an honest offering.
For those who dislike Charlie, this is probably why. I think at
first listen he might sound like an old codger who's had it. But
delve further, you'll soon find what you’re looking for. Musselwhite
even (after a tour with the eminently socially conscious Ben Harper)
launches himself into political blues. Now now, don't sneer. Black
Water was written in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, and is
a spooky ballad to remind us of troubled times. Above the noble
subject matter, it's a belting song – filthy guitar and drums
glide all over the place, while Musselwhite stands at the eye of
the storm, blowing on his own terms.
The thing I like about Charlie is that he never shoots it too early.
A master of suspense, he'll never leave you fully sated until the
last moment, when he'll throw in some beautiful little twiddle that
makes your back wrench.
On from the sordid winding of Black Water is the foot stomper, Clarksdale
Boogie. Its raucously simple, and the simple plea of: "Meet
me where they play good blues" is an honourable request. Musselwhite
apparently employs a drummer with only a right leg, but the bare
bones (sorry) sound is perfect to let the harp sear out and float
above it all.
Musselwhite's voice is accented constantly by a heavy scorn, which
lets him sing without really trying – as if this is all just
a bit too much like hard work. Delta Hardware doesn't try to bring
you anything new, it just sits – puffed up and snide –
in the corner, scowling at the other punters.