Clarksdale, Mississippi – A sweet surprise landed in Poor William’s inbox last week. He then forwarded the message to moi.
The message said “the little white lines at the bottom of the video player….if you ffwd to the very last white line we are the last segment.”
It contained a link. A link to NBC’s Tonight Show. A video link of Charlie Musselwhite performing on The Tonight Show with his friend Ben Harper.
I was ecstatic to not only hear from our friend Charlie but to also see his performance and hear the song “I Don’t Believe A Word You Say.”
Watch The Tonight Show video here
NOTE: Go to the last white hash mark in the scroll to catch Charlie and Ben.
(You have to patiently wait out the commercials.)
Immediately after watching their dynamic performance, I emailed Charlie to say congratulations and wow! Thus began our back and forth conversation as shown below.
MM: Charlie, once I watched those commercials each about 4 times, haha, I got to see your fantastic performance. Hot! Was this your first appearance on the Tonight Show?
CM: NO, I WAS ON WITH CYNDI LAUPER.
MM: If not, what number was it?
MM: Would you tell me a sentence or two about the experience…. not only the music collaboration/album with Ben but the experience on the show too?
CM: IT WAS A LOT OF FUN. EVERYBODY WAS REAL NICE AND JAY SEEMS GENUINE AND DOWN TO EARTH.
MM: …and I will do a post, embed the video and promote your CD on the DB!?! This would thrill me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
CM: ALRRRRRRRRITE! I DO LIKE THE SOUND OF THAT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
MM: I miss y’all!!!!! We are having Charles over for dinner Sunday night for two yummy doe tenderloins. Wanna come?!
CM: I SURE DO WISH WE COULD JOIN YOU, BUT WE’RE IN SAN FRANCISCO FOR THE GRAND OPENING OF THE SF JAZZ CENTER. MR & MRS TOM WAITS AND MR & MRS LES CLAYPOOL ARE AT OUR TABLE. I HOPE THE FOOD WILL BE GOOD, BUT I KNOW IT AIN’T GOING TO BE NOTHING LIKE THEM YUMMY TENDERLOINS. WE MISS Y’ALL AND CLARKSDALE TOO!!!
MM: WOW! Thanks, Charlie. Another quick question(s)…. How long have y’all been working on this CD?
CM: WE WERE RECORDING IT EXACTLY A YEAR AGO, BUT IT ONLY TOOK A FEW DAYS. THE LABEL HAS BEEN PREPARING THINGS SINCE.
MM: Do you have a favorite song on it?
CM: I FORGET THE TITLE RIGHT NOW, BUT ON THE VERY LAST TRACK YOU CAN HEAR ME LAUGHING AND TALKING BECAUSE I DIDN’T KNOW WE WERE RECORDING. WE WERE JUST GOOFING AROUND IN THE STUDIO BUT BEN TOLD THE ENGINEER TO RECORD IT BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IT SOUNDED SO GOOD.
MM: and a little tidbit about the actual collaboration or how it got started would help. What about you and Ben Harper….how’d that happen?
CM: WE MET YEARS AGO, BUT ONCE WHEN WE BACKED UP JOHN LEE HOOKER ON A RECORDING WE REALLY JELLED AND THAT’S WHEN WE DECIDED WE SHOULD DO A PROJECT TOGETHER. EVEN JOHN LEE SAID WE SHOULD, TOO.
MM: I am not very familiar with his work but his soulful performance got me. Of course, your harp matched up beautifully. Way to go. Blues on the Tonight Show!
CM: IT WAS REALLY FUN.
MM: As far as the Grand Opening of the SF Jazz Center, I’m jealous! M/M Waits and M/M Claypool get to sit with you and Henri!!!
CM: SHOULD AT LEAST BE AN INTERESTING EVENING. I’LL BE WEARING A TUX.
MM: Have fun and know we will toast to you both and to the success of the CD whilst dining on the venison. Next time!
CM: YOU GUYS ARE HAVING THE REAL FUN. I AIN’T LYIN’!
I GOT TO KNOW JOHNNY REAL WELL. FIRST MET HIM IN CHICAGO. THEN I LEFT CHICAGO AND HE LEFT DETROIT AND WE RELOCATED TO THE SF BAY AREA. I SPENT DAYS AT JOHN LEE’S HOUSE. SOMETIMES HE’D CALL ME UP AND LEAVE A MESSAGE LIKE: “I’M PLAYING TONIGHT AT THE …………CLUB. WHY DON’T YOU COME DOWN AND HELP THIS OLD BOY OUT.” FOR ME IT WAS LIKE A SUMMONS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE AND JOHNNY WANTED ME TO COME SIT-IN….I WENT! OF COURSE I DIDN’T GET PAID, BUT I DIDN’T CARE. THERE WERE TIMES WHEN I WAS SINGLE AND I STAY AT HIS HOME FOR DAYS. IT WAS GREAT TO ALWAYS BE WELCOME AT YOUR HEROES HOUSE. A LOT OF TIMES JOHN WOULD SAY, “COME ON! LETS GO FOR A RIDE.” AND WE’D GET IN HIS CADILLAC AND JUST DRIVE AROUND AND STOP IN AND VISIT DIFFERENT FRIENDS OF JOHNNY’S. ON ONE OF THOSE DRIVES IS WHERE I FIRST MET ALL OF LITTLE WALTERS SISTERS. JOHN LOVED TO LAUGH AND JOKE AND SO I HAD A HECK OF A GREAT TIME HANGING OUT WITH HIM.
Charlie’s album GET UP! was officially released yesterday January 29, 2013. My good friend “Toddy” Todd J. Cameron had this to say about the new blues CD.
“downloaded it this am & it hasnt been off yet…great record…i been listening it all day…she go kick is a great song…lot a blues here…peace” – Toddy
Follow THIS LINK to more about the album. Charlie and Ben give interviews in the videos on the page.
Delta Bohemian Photo Shooter-Robin Colonas (not pictured) of New Roxy Theater, Charles Evans of Clark House, MS Design Maven Marilyn Trainor-Storey of Per Design Studio, Farmer John “Fat Clyde” McKee, Billy “Poor William” Howell, Magical Madge Marley Howell, Henrietta Musselwhite, Charlie Musselwhite, Janet Coursin of Blues Daisy Studios
and Roger Stolle of Cat Head Blues and Folk Art.