Juke Joint Chapel
Henrietta Records

Charlie Musselwhite CD coverThe Juke Joint Chapel is located at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi and it is exactly the type of church that any blues aficionado would feel right at home partaking in its services. Especially when the sermon is being presented by blues harp legend Charlie Musselwhite. This live recording offers a dozen nuggets of Musselwhite’s repertoire, including all phases of his career. Backed by a stellar band that offers young guitar ace Matthew Stubbs, bassist Mike Phillips and June Core laying down his ever steady drum patterns. This grouping compliments Musselwhite with Stubbs delivering outright sensational guitar, but none of the players overshadow their leader. You know from beginning to end just who the star of this show is.

Juke Joint Chapel opens with a handful of cover tracks that all have been imprinted with that classic Musselwhite sound. His harmonica work and vocals are instantly recognized as he starts out with Eddie Taylor’s “Bad Boy,” and he even finds a way of throwing a little “CC Rider” into the opening harp run during the song. He follows with terrific covers by Shaky Jake, Tony Joe White, Billy Boy Arnold and Little Walter before breaking out with a run of five of his most loved originals. Autobiographical pieces like “Strange Land” and “Blues Overtook Me” are always welcome favorites during his shows. And the Brazilian flavored “Feel It In Your Heart” from the Rough News album showcases a nice diversion in this exciting set. “I’m Going Home” again is highlighted by Stubbs’ string work and it leads into the closing track “Christo Redentor.” Written by Duke Pearson “Christo Redentor” is perhaps Musselwhite’s signature song. The instrumental was featured on his first album released more than forty-five years ago and to this day is the one number everybody anticipates in his performances. There is no disappointing with this take of the song, the perfect way to end a brilliant show.

There is a reason why Charlie Musselwhite has been one of the most favored blues artists for more than four decades. It is because his music is consistently over the top without being overstated and his concerts are always riveting. That is depicted rightfully so with Juke Joint Chapel. For anybody who is a fan of Musselwhite, harmonica or traditional blues, this is what you’re looking for.

 

Total Time: 70:31

Bad Boy / Roll Your Money Maker / As The Crow Flies / Gone Too Long / It Ain’t Right / Strange Land / Blues Overtook Me / River Hip Mama / Blues Why Do You Worry Me? / Feel It In Your Heart / I’m Going Home / Christo Redentor