Music Reviews

Charlie Musselwhite

Best of the Vanguard Years

Vanguard

A master of the blues harp, Charlie Musselwhite left his Memphis home in 1962 for the bright lights of Chicago. It was there that he honed his skills as a harp player and recorded three albums for Vanguard Records. Musselwhite learned from and played with some great names, including Little Walter, Junior Wells, John Hammond, and the Hawks, before they renamed themselves the Band. His harmonica takes center stage here, showing off with some excellent extended solos. An interesting sound is created by the addition of a Hammond organ and electric guitar on instrumental songs like “Cha Cha The Blues” and “Christo Redemptor.” Musselwhite doesn’t always utilize his vocal capabilities but when he does, he shines as can be heard on the Sonny Boy Williamson cover, “Help Me.” This is definitely a distinctive sound, different from the traditional Mississippi Delta blues and the contemporary Chicago blues, but one most blues fans will appreciate.

Vanguard Recording Society, 2700 Pennsylvania Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404; http://www.VanguardRecords.com.


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