04/28/16: Charlie Musselwhite Recalls Early Days in Chicago with Muddy Waters - "Muddy Gave Me a Career"
Moving from Memphis to Chicago and a job driving an exterminator truck, the fledgling harmonica described being in Pepper’s Lounge after work with Muddy and other musicians.
“Nobody my age was in there; I was probably 18,” he told a standing-room-only museum audience. “No young blacks or whites were into ‘old folks music’.”
Digressing from his storyline about gradually being invited to sit in and play, Musselwhite preaches a bit: “Blues is not a fad; it’s always been here; and will always be here… blues will make you feel good; it’s an all-purpose music – an oasis.”
Since Pepper’s Lounge was open til 4 a.m., he said Muddy was happy to have musicians sit in.
“This gave me an alternative; I was one of the guys and became a fixture,” Musselwhite said. Gigs followed.
“He gave me a career, and afterward everything changed,” he said.
Asked what they talked about, “Mostly we talked about women and having a good time,” he said.
Describing Muddy, Musselwhite said, “He was regal; he dressed sharp; he was special, and his band looked sharp.”