FreeWheelin' Music Safari

The Safari meets Charlie Musselwhite at the Juke Joint Chapel – and says It’s about time!!


It’s amazing to me that I’ve never been a big Charlie Musselwhite fan. I love blues harp and he is certainly one of the best players of the harp around, so why?? It’s in explicable isn’t it, is it his voice or is it that there’s too much, music and too little time and somehow poor  Charlie gets lost in the shuffle!  Well that may have to change because last night and today I listened to one of the best blues albums of 2013 Juke Joint Chapel from Charlie and I must say at 69 years young he appears to be at the top of his game!! From Charlie’s website:


The live and kicking Juke Joint Chapel showcases five originals and seven choice covers with a stone groove band of Matt Stubbs (guitar), Mike Phillips (bass) and June Core (drums). The classic Eddie Taylor shuffle “Bad Boy” chugs with grace and attitude as Musselwhite slyly quotes “C.C. Rider” in his opening harp solo, his tone as thick as sweet molasses. His is one of the most recognizable voices in the blues, a true “instrument” he employs effortlessly to great expressiveness. “Roll Your Moneymaker” cruises smoothly as a ’55 Lincoln Continental, the luxury ride only interrupted by dynamic stop-time. Written by crap-shooting Shaky Jake Harris, whom Musselwhite says played harmonica as “another hustle” and modestly admits to “showing him a couple of licks.” Stubbs stands out and is a monster guitarist graciously allotted extensive solo space throughout from a leader who has enjoyed the services of many greats, but will never feel threatened by another instrumentalist. The toe tapping two-beat of Tony Joe White’s “As the Crow Flies” is driven hard by the propulsive and endlessly inventive Stubbs along with Musselwhite, who has observed, “In country music, the singer might say ‘my baby left me and I’m gonna jump off a bridge.’ But in blues, they say ‘my baby left me, and I’m gonna get a new baby’.” “Gone Too Long,” from fellow harmonicist Billy Boy Arnold contains one of his patented syncopated figures and an unstoppable rhythm from the Musselwhite band demanding you can’t sit down….. Read More

As I listened to the album aside from the great harp from Charlie, I kept thinking over and over, who is that on guitar? Because the playing was great as was the chemistry between the guitarist and Charlie.. and now I know the answer Matt Stubbs!  It’s also good to read that I’m not the only one who was impressed by Mr Stubbs!!

Here’s some of the recent awards that Charlie has garnered…… impressive is an understatement!!

The Well – Alligator Records

2011 GRAMMY Nominee for Best Traditional Blues Album

2012 Blues Music Award Winner for Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year and for Best Instrumentalist Harmonica

2011 Blues Music Award Winner for Best Instrumentalist – Harmonica AND Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year! Also nominated for Album of the Year for The Well, Traditional Blues Album of the Year for The Well and Song of the Year for “Sad and Beautiful World”

Featured on Cyndi Lauper’s, Memphis Blues, also a 2011 GRAMMY nominee for Best Traditional Blues Album

2010 Blues Hall of Fame Inductee

2011 Living Blues Award. Readers’ Poll winner for Most Outstanding Musician award (Harmonica), for the fifth year in a row, his 9th overall Living Blues Award for Outstanding Musician.

2011 saw Charlie recognized in the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll in both the Blues Artist category and Blues Album

2011 DownBeat Magazine Readers Poll – ranked among the Best Blues Artists and Best Blues Albums for The Well

Featured on Tom Waits latest album, Bad As Me, which entered the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart at #6 in November 2011. Charlie appears on five tracks, including the title track.

7-Time GRAMMY Nominee

27-Time Blues Music Award Winner Continue Reading 

So after listening this afternoon, I went back to the beginning of Charlie’s career and listened briefly to his first album Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite’s Southside Band  and again I ask how come I didn’t listen?? Boy once again I have a lot of catching up to do!!

Here’s Charlie and the band performing: “As the Crow Flies” at Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma, for the 2nd annual Coahoma-to-Sonoma Blues Festival, 2013.