Artist: Charlie Musselwhite
Album: I Ain't Lyin'...
Label: Henrietta Records
Release Date: 05/13/2015
Harp players often have that annoying habit of being either too overpowering or too underpowered. Charlie Musselwhite, on the other hand, has been steering a smooth course through these potential pitfalls with total confidence and apparent ease for many decades now. With I Ain’t Lyin’… he again produces the goods, gliding along with complete mastery of both music and harp to deliver an eleven track release that allows his voice to take centre stage and gives his backing band, with Matt Stubbs on guitar, June Core on skins and Steve Froberg on bass, bags of space to rip it up with emotion, passion and power.
I Ain’t Lyin’… is a live recording, with the action captured over two gigs at Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival in CA and Clarksdale Soundstage, MS, respectively, towards the close of 2014. Musselwhite wrote most of the material here, save for a few tracks, such as one of his personal favorites from Elmore James, “Done Somebody Wrong.”
Blues blowers are often saddled and hampered by their illustrious predecessors – Sonny Boy, Little Walter, etc. – and struggle to make the music their own. Musselwhite, however, simply shrugs off these ever-present, old-time shackles and serves up his own slippery, satisfying take with an astonishing, explosive energy and style that never wanes, stumbles or falters. This guy is easily one of the USA’s finest blues masters, and this offering shows why he has been riding high for so, so long, following his blues immersion playing with legendary names like Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Little Walter over the years. Pure quality.
– Iain Patience