In Honor of our Savior

Sublime music post by Ruddy Adam.

In Honor of our Savior, “Khrist the Redeemer,” by Charlie Musselwhite

For the anniversary of Resurrection Day, I thought this piece would be one to lead us into this Blessed Day. This is one of my all-time favorite pieces, and it is done in the Blues style and should be rated the equivalent of Dave Brubeck’s Jazz pieces.

Born in the depths of blues land in the Mississippi Delta, where so many of the early blues artists came from, the late Charlie Musselwhite was a bluesman who wrote and performed songs for 60-years. He burned the famous Blues Highway, Hwy 51 from New Orleans to Memphis to Chicago and on to Whiskey, truly until his death, because he loved playing those little clubs along the way to small, adoring audiences of Adamic blues lovers.

Like so many early bluesmen he moved early in life to the Town of the Blues: Memphis, TN, where he met and became friends with everybody you can name in the blues. (Johnny Lee Hooker was his favorite of the lot.) His specialty was the harmonica. One of the few albums we still have after the `04 robbery that took most of our vinyl music, contains many of my favorite harmonica pieces. The album is “The Harmonica According to Charlie Musselwhite,” which we purchased in the late 1970s. You can hear the entire album here:

The first piece will set you afire, if you love someone who can power-jam a harmonica.

You’ll hear it below in “Christo Redemptor,” because that harmonica blows heaven over hell, and Charlie is the Archangel pushing the winds through to beat hell to its knees.

Over the years Charlie did not venture far from the blues except to play Southern Rock, which he fell in love with after hearing “The Allman Brothers” play that style, though many of his songs have a Khristian bent. He was one of many who believe that their piece, “The Whipping Post,” is the finest piece of music ever written outside of the classics. It may not be the absolute greatest, but it certainly might be the most complicated piece ever played, outside of a couple of Brubeck’s and a few classical ones.

It’s not often we hear a bluesy instrumental in praise of Khrist. I rejoice that we have this one. Though a prolific writer himself, Charlie did not write “Khrist the Redeemer.” But he did alter it, lengthen it, and greatly improve it from the original, in my view. I must add that, due to Charlie’s ability to do just about anything with the harmonica, in quality of music his blues pieces tend to stand above most others you will find.

Just imagine this little venue, somewhere on the Blues Highway, a club to nowhere, filled with plain and simple Adamics who appreciate perfection in music, having a master of music play for them, about their Master and Savior, Yasu.

As I said: That harmonica will get to you in this one, and, of course, Charlie wants it to. He once said: “It’s at times difficult for me to play this one, thinking about what the Lord had to do to redeem us. So I have to put my mind deeper and deeper into every bar to get through it.” Amen!

“Khrist the Redeemer” Charlie Musselwhite (10:00)

Written by the late blues and Harmonicat Man, Charlie Musselwhite, this song is one of the more moving blues songs ever written. It is performed by Charlie on the harmonica and his daughter Layla sings it as if she’s in the depths of the Mississippi Delta surrounded by everything that brings out the blues.

I love these pieces set up so simply and played and sung by great musicians and singers. You get the real sound, you get the rich nuances of the songs without the slightest pretense, without a stitch of editing. Everyone moves with the artist who takes the lead, as in the best Jazz pieces.

“In Your Darkest Hour” Charlie Musselwhite and his daughter, Layla (3:00)

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