Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Charlie MUSSELWHITE Blues Band - Tennessee Woman 1969
If I had to choose a favorite Charlie Musselwhite album, Tennessee Woman might be it. I've been listening to it for almost 20 years and expect to continue listening to it for at least another 20. But really, Musselwhite's other two Vanguard albums from the 1960s, Stand Back! and Stone Blues, and his two early 70s Arhoolie albums, Takin' My Time and Goin' Back Down South, claim about equal affection.
The thing I love about Tennessee Woman is its moodiness. Classic Chicago blues featuring Musselwhite's wonderfully expressive, mournful harp playing and soulful, world-weary vocals, laced with great jazzy piano from Skip Rose. The other sidemen are equally inspired, forming a perfect cohesive unit as harp, vocals, and piano, and Larry Welker's liquid steel guitar, weave around and through one another. A little over halfway through an ethereal, 12-minute version of "Christo Redemptor," after a lengthy piano solo, Musselwhite's harp comes back in like a giant slowly awakening. Magic.
"I'm still a stranger in a strange land / baby, until the day I die," Musselwhite sings in "Blue Feeling Today," the sentiment reiterated in the album's dreamy final track, "I'm a Stranger." Musselwhite manifests his, and America's, perennial theme of loneliness and alienation with an authority available to only a few musicians. Tennessee Woman is a lasting brilliant gem.
By Lachlan Murray.
The addition of jazz pianist Skip Rose gave a new dimension to the ensemble sound, and provided a perfect foil to Charlie's own soloing especially on the re-take of "Cristo Redentor," extended to 11 minutes, shifting to double-time in spots. Rose's instrumental, "A Nice Day for Something," is a welcome change of pace, and Musselwhite's "Blue Feeling Today" compares favorably to fine covers of Little Walter and Fenton Robinson tunes.
By Dan Forte.
Charlie Musselwhite- (Vocals, Harmonica);
Tim Kaihatsu- (Vocals, Guitar);
Larry Welker- (Guitar);
Fred Roulette- (steel Guitar);
Rod Piazza- (Harmonica);
Skip Rose- (Piano);
Carl Severeid- (Bass);
Lance Dickerson- (Drums).
A1. Tennessee Woman
A2. Blue Feeling Today
A3. A Nice Day for Something
A4. Everybody Needs Somebody
A5. I Don't Play, I'll Be Your Man Some Day
B1. Christo Redemptor
B2. Little by Little
B3. I'm a Stranger