Delta Hardware by Charlie Musselwhite
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Description of Delta Hardware by Charlie Musselwhite
Released by Real World
Available in Audio CD format
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As authentic as the lines on his forehead and his droopy eyes, veteran bluesman Charlie Musselwhite gets better with age. (At 62, he's a respected survivor with dozens of albums to his credit.) On Delta Hardware the journeyman musician pays tribute to, and revels in, his Mississippi roots. Although he's spent time in Chicago and on the West Coast, for this album of churning swamp and deep Southern blues he taps his formative years in the town of Kosciusko. Musselwhite's poignant voice and crying harmonica convey loss and sadness on the tense, swirling "Black Water," one of two tracks dealing with Hurricane Katrina. His full-bodied, amplified harp cuts like Paul Butterfield and especially Little Walter, two of whose songs he covers here. Give Musselwhite's backing group credit too, especially guitarist Chris "Kid" Anderson, who slices into the slow, riff-based, Walter-penned "Just a Feeling" with Ronnie Earl-styled precision. Even on the straight-ahead shuffle of "Blues for Yesterday," the band nails a sweaty, edgy groove that's as genuine as it is driving. Producer Chris Goldsmith keeps the sound lean, mean, and just muddy enough to conjure images of the band churning out these dark, dusky Delta blues on a porch in the midst of a sweltering summer's night. The no-frills approach is perfect for Musselwhite's otherworldly harp playing to express his years and miles on the endless blues highway. --Hal Horowitz