Charlie Musselwhite Profile:
Born: January 31, 1944 in Kosciusko MS
Blues harpist Charlie Musselwhite rose out of the Chicago blues scene of the 1960s and, along with Paul Butterfield, helped bring blues music to a young white audience. His move to Northern California late in the decade brought his blues to the children of flower-power and, in the decades since, the artist has been an effective ambassador for blues music. More than anything, however, Musselwhite has helped expand the stylistic barriers of the blues, bringing elements of jazz, Tex-Mex, and even world music into his traditional mix of Delta and Chicago blues styles.
Born in Mississippi, Musselwhite was raised in Memphis where, as a young man, he formed friendships with bluesmen Will Shade and Furry Lewis, both helping teach him guitar and harp. With a working knowledge of the blues to draw on, Musselwhite moved to Chicago in 1962 in search of work. It is these country blues roots that, when influenced by the more urban Chicago blues style of Little Walter and others, helped Musselwhite forge a unique sound.
At first Musselwhite performed for tips on Chicago's famed Maxwell Street, but he soon became a familiar presence at local blues clubs like Theresa's. Musselwhite developed a working relationship with blues musicians like Little Walter, Carey Bell, and Sonny Boy Williamson. The harp player's talents led to sessions playing on records by Tracy Nelson and John Hammond, and dueting with Shakey Horton on Vanguard Records' landmark Chicago/The Blues/Today album, appearing as "Memphis Charlie."
San Francisco Daze
Musselwhite's 1967 debut struck a chord with young rock fans, and after playing the Fillmore West, he left Chicago for San Francisco. Through the following years, Musselwhite led bands with notable blues and rock guitarists like Harvey Mandel, Robben Ford, and Fenton Robinson, performing clubs and festivals alike.
In over four decades, Musselwhite has released better than two-dozen albums, and has performed his houserockin' style of blues for audiences across the globe. The ground-breaking blues musician has also remained an in-demand session player, playing behind both fellow blues artists like John Lee Hooker and Otis Taylor as well as rockers like Tom Waits and Bonnie Raitt.
Recommended Albums: Stand Back! Here Comes Charlie Musselwhite's Southside Blues Band, the artist's classic debut album, is the only place to start.