Open that Memphis pressure cooker that took white and black music under the guises and blessed by the shades of hillbilly, country, blues and R & B, and you get the rooty rock and roll era that produced the musical profile of a younger Charlie Musselwhite. The Kosciusko, Mississippi native Musselwhite moves back in time on this biscuit to bring an Americana leaning to his standard Delta/Chicago and West Coast blues formulas.
Joining Charlie is an outstanding cast of supporting sessionists and special guests. Bandleader phenom G.E. Smith leads on guitars. The rhythm section is drummers supreme Pers Hanson or Michael Jerome, along with thundering bass man T-Bone Wolk. Running the middle ground is organist Peter Re. Special guests include guitarist Robben Ford, and Marty Stuart on mandolin and guitar. Kelly Willis and Christine Ohlman share lead and background vocal duties, both separately and together on seven of the twelve slabs on this platter.
You know you're honky-tonkin' when Charlie whips it up with the opening "Trail Of Tears". With a country vocal take and a bluesy shuffle that segues right into the following melancoly of Ivory Joe Hunter's "Cold Grey Light Of Dawn". His own "Blues Overtook Me" sets a tight pace with incredible register work by Charlie. Willis' shares the lead vocals on "In A Town This Size" making it an especially-sweetened country ballad. This slant also brings Charlie to a romping rendition of Johnny Cash's "Big River" with a decided country-fried rock feel. The set mixes it up with clever cover selections like Jimmy Reed's "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby" and the Los Lobos tune "One Time One Night", and four from Charlie's own hand and pen.
Bringing his past 1940s' and 1950s' Memphis influences into play with deliberate intention: Charlie expands on his credo: "...blues is a feeling not confined to any theoretical musical structure." A riveting listen from start to finish, One Night In America adds frosting to a string of releases starting with Vanguard, going on to Paramount, Kicking Mule, Capitol, Arhoolie, Alligator, Paramount, and Pointblank. This Musselwhite debut on Telarc brings it all together: his Mississippi birthright, his Memphis and Chicago upbringings, and his current Bay Area life facet. More than just another gem in his discographic crown, Charlie steps forth with moving eclectic music that further expands the boundaries of the blues!
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