Sunday, March 14, 2010
Charlie MUSSELWHITE Band - Rough Dried, Live At The Triple Door 1997
When it comes to stomping, lowdown blues harmonica it just doesn't get any better than Charlie Musselwhite, and what could be better than a live recording right from Seattle's own Triple Door” The 12 tracks contain only three covers, one being Charlie;s main stay since his first release, “Cristo Redentor” (aka Christo Redemptor) as an encore. Charlie's supporting cast on Rough Dried-Live at the Triple Door Features the same band that has performed on Charlie's '05 Real World Records CD Delta Hardware with Chris “Kid” Anderson – guitar (Terry Hank, Rick Estrin and The Nightcats) who is also in the credits as the mixer and one of the recorders along with Glenn Dennler. I could easily expound at length about each track; but there isn't room for that here. The set is jump started with the opening cut “River Hip Mama,” the barn burner from Charlie's '90 Alligator set “Ace Of Harps” (one of the three cuts included off that CD). Charlie describes “Feel It In Your Heart” as Brazilian blues, which appropriately features an infectious Latin beat. It is off the '97 Point Blank release Rough Edges as is the title track “Rough Dried Woman”. Rough Dried – Live at the Triple Door absolutely cooks from start to finish and will go down as one of my favorite CD's in quite some time.
By Malcolm Kennedy. Washington Blues Society.
Harmonica ace Charlie Musselwhite falls between the more obvious generations of blues players, younger than its elder statesmen but considerably senior to young hot-shots like Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. How, then, can he find a fresh hook to his music without resorting to attention-grabbing gimmicks? Except for two songs featuring producer/guitarist Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos, Charlie Musselwhite's 1997 album, Rough News, doesn't have any famous guests, but it stands out from the harmonica whiz's long and deep discography nonetheless. Musselwhite has pared down his sound so radically that every instrument has become a rhythm instrument. When these lean, groove-based arrangements are applied to tunes as simple and catchy as "Both Sides of Fence," "I Sat & Cried" and "Natural Born Lover," the results jump at the listener with the bare-basics excitement of early rock & roll. Musselwhite displays his elegant command of the mouth harp on two instrumental standards, "Sleepwalk" and "Harlem Nocturne," but the highlights are the songs where the simplicity of the material and the masterfulness of the musicians bring the best out in each other.
By Geoffrey Himes.
The expression “rough dried,”
as Charlie Musselwhite
explains while introducing his
cover of Magic Slim’s “Rough
Dried Woman,” refers to laundry
that’s only partially dry.
That’s an apt metaphor for this recording, taken from a single gig
with no obvious overdubs. It captures 72 minutes of Musselwhite
doing what he’s been doing since the mid-Sixties: playing the
blues with heart, soul, and enthusiasm to an audience filled with
The harpist/singer has had well-documented ups and
downs, and he’s now rightfully lauded as a survivor for both his
talent and his visionary pushing of the blues’ boundaries into
country, jazz, and even world music. Musselwhite is the acknowledged
master of an instrument that’s frequently taken for
granted, and this exhilarating concert proves it. His first live disc
in 23 years (available only on his Web site and at concerts),
Rough Dried dips briefly into Brazilian blues on the jaunty “Feel It
in Your Heart,” where he displays his chromatic harmonica skills,
but otherwise stays rooted in the tough Chicago style that’s his
The set steers clear of recent material, despite the resounding
critical success of 2006’s Delta Hardware and 2004’s Sanctuary.
Instead, Musselwhite opens up with solos on the jump blues
of “Movin’ and Groovin’,” an eight-minute traipse through the
slow-tempo blues “She May Be Your Woman,” a crackling “Drop
Down Baby,” and an extended closing version of “Cristo Redentor,”
Musselwhite’s signature instrumental. It’s here that he ties
jazz, pop, and blues together in a dazzling package, led by slinky
harp and an arrangement tweaked to perfection through four
decades of performance.
Credit should also be shared by Musselwhite’s touring band,
which at the time featured the striking, innovative guitar of Kid
Andersen. Even without fresh material, this is Musselwhite at his
finest, singing with his world-weary voice and blowing harp with an
obvious love for the music. He delivers a stunning show, honed
through a lifetime of work.
By Hal Horowitz. AMG.
Charlie Musselwhite- (Vocals, electric & slide guitars, harmonica);
John Lawrence- (Electric & slide guitars, churrango);
Cesar Rosas- (Electric & slide guitars);
Junior Watson- (Euitar, background vocals);
Kid Ramos, Fenton Robinson- (Euitar);
Stu Blank -(Keyboards, background vocals);
Felton Crews- (Bass, background vocals);
Larry Taylor, A.G. Hardesty, Rene Coman- (Bass);
Steven Hodges- (Drums, background vocals);
Victor Bisetti, Jeffrey Clemens- (Drums);
Dick Shurman- (Background vocals).
01. River Hip Mama
02. If I Should Have Bad Luck
03. Strange Land
04. Rough Dried Woman
05. Blues Overtook Me
06. Feel It in Your Heart
07. Wild Wild Woman
08. She May Be Your Woman
09. Long Lean Lanky Mama
10. Movin' and Groovin'
11. Drop Down Baby
12. Cristo Redentor