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Deluxe Edition: Charlie Musselwhite

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Album Review

Calling this retrospective by Charlie Musselwhite a "deluxe edition" may be a little misleading. Twelve of the album's 14 tracks come from three albums he recorded for Alligator in the early '90s. There are four each from Ace of Harps (1990), Signature (1991), and In My Time (1993). The sequencing is beautifully done and representative. The true curiosities are two unissued cuts. The first is "Lotsa Poppa," an outtake from the In My Time sessions. The cut itself isn't such a revelation, but Musselwhite's harp playing and singing is. His delivery is signature in that he is always slow and relaxed yet just underneath. There in the grain of his voice is something else, something that smolders. The final cut here is from Musselwhite's private collection of tapes and it was recorded at home in the early '60s. It features the legendary Will Shade instructing a very young Musselwhite on guitar and singing with him. It's ragged but moving and poetic. This is priceless archival blues history and is a fine bookend. Hopefully this will inspire the bluesman to find a venue to release more of his personal archives in the future.

Biography

Born: 31 January 1944 in Kosciusko, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Harmonica wizard Norton Buffalo can recollect a leaner time when his record collection had been whittled down to only the bare essentials: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's South Side Band. Butterfield and Musselwhite will probably be forever linked as the two most interesting, and arguably the most important, products of the "white blues movement" of the mid- to late '60s — not only because they were near the forefront chronologically, but because...
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