New Music For Old People: Charlie Musselwhite, Crack The Sky, The Isley Brothers



Al Kooper

Al Kooper

This column is like the title says — its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the ’60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.

I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don’t miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD’VE been!

1. Charlie Musselwhite – “One of These Mornings”

A blues transplant from Memphis to Chicago (there were many), he fell in with the correct crowd (Bloomfield, etc.) and made a name for himself as a harp player and singer. I saw him on TV performing at The White House for the Prez. He is one of the great survivors and is probably on the road right now as I am typing. This is from his album Delta Hardware and it still has that authentic original spark goin’ on. Cheers, Charlie.

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2. Crack the Sky – “Long Nights”

This was a talented band that formed in the ’70s in West Virginia and played around the Baltimore area. Their sad tale of success was a dope opera of huge proportions — and I’m not using dope as another word for drugs. Distribution-wise, their record company sank the ship by not having records in the stores when radio was wailing on their product. They toured and toured, opening for Heart and ZZ Top, and got great crowd response but fans couldn’t reciprocate in the stores where it counted. If one goes back and listens to their vintage work, it’s as good as the acts they opened for. Here’s one of my favorites — a sad tale of an old man who lost direction when his wife died — but it’s a sadder tale of a great band that died too soon without the obituary they deserved.

3. The Isley Brothers – “Showdown”

They started in the ’50s with a timeless #1 hit (“Shout!”), had another huge hit in the ’60s (“Twist and Shout”), and I think all of you probably know the rest of their history by heart. This was from the ’70’s and is another amazing groove by the Isleys as well. After all, it’s their thing — they do what they wanna do. I never tire of this track ’cause I still can’t solve the mystery of what’s going on here individually on each instrument. But, in the privacy of my own home I can dance up a storm to this and convulse my wife at the same time.

This column originally appeared on The Morton Report. Click for more great selections from Al Kooper! As always, show some love to the Morton Report!

Photo Credit: Joe Mabel [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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