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2015 Blues Hall of Fame Tour:
Brings the heart and soul of America to Tucson

2015 Blues Hall of Fame Tour
The Fox Theatre
Tucson, AZ
March 26, 2015
Charlie Musselwhite
Charlie Musselwhite
James Cotton
James Cotton
John Hammond
John Hammond

Review and photos by Mary Andrews

John Hammond, Charlie Musselwhite, and James Cotton brought their Blues Hall Of Fame Tour to town to delight the local blues fans. This event could easily be dubbed the blues harp convention of the year! These men have known and respected each other for many years. The spirit of Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, Charles Otis, Sleepy John Estes, Big Joe Williams, Little Walter, and Muddy Waters came along for the ride!

John Hammond started the show with his brand of old time blues brilliantly playing steel guitar and harmonica. There are not enough accolades that can be used to describe Hammond's performance. His career goes back five plus decades and he pointed out during the show that he toured with Muddy Waters. "I got to know him. What a guy!" He introduced each song with a brief history of the origins of the song. Hammond started out in the 50's known as John Hammond and the Screaming Nighthawks. He has made a career of reinterpreting classic blues songs from as early as the turn of the twentieth century. His powerful performance had the appearance that he was channeling the original bluesmen from the past. His set seemed much too short before he turned the stage over to his performing partners. James Cotton joined Hammond for the last two songs of his portion of the show. James Cotton's harmonica was as fiery as ever as he dueled with Hammond's power driven guitar. The duo tackled Muddy Waters' "Sail On" and Little Walt's "Tell Me Mama."

Super-harpist Charlie Musselwhite and his band took the stage after a short break for his portion of the show. The venerable blues-harp veteran has played and learned the ropes with the most legendary blues musicians of the last century and he has carved out that legendary niche for himself. Yet he unassumingly sauntered on stage like a member of the band wearing a bowling shirt and slacks, fit and ready to blow the roof off with his virtuoso harmonica.

Musselwhite along with guitarist Matt Stubbs, drummer June Core and bassist Mike Phillips, lead off with "Bad Boy Blues," from his 2013 release Juke Joint Chapel. Stubbs' robust guitar is reminiscent of James Burton's picking back in the days of Elvis. Core and Phillips kept that rockabilly flavor going as well. After five songs, John Hammond joined them on stage for a raucous version of "Sugar Mama."

You could hear Cotton before you saw him, his great harp roared from backstage, as he came out for a spirited set with Musselwhite's band. The harp master played a string of continued harp phrases seamlessly throughout his portion of the set. Cotton smiled as though he was having the time of his life playing with his friends. Mr. Cotton's voice has gotten weak and gravely over the years, so Musselwhite and Hammond did the singing. The finale was a foot-stomping "Got My Mojo Working" by everyone in the show.

The show length was over two hours and could have gone on all night long.
Set Lists:
Set List for Hammond:

1. unknown
2. I'm Gonna Find My Baby
3. Rough and Tough (Howlin' Wolf cover)
4. Come On in My Kitchen (Robert Johnson cover)
5. You Know That's Cold
6. Come to Find Out
7. Someday Baby Blues (Sleepy John Estes cover)
8. Honey Bee
9. Tell Me Mama (with James Cotton)
10. Sail On (Muddy Waters cover) (with James Cotton)

Set list for Musselwhite and friends:

1. Bad Boy Blues
2. Big Legged Woman
3. Good Blues Tonight
4. Cryin Won't Help You Now
5. Chicken Shack 6. Sugar Mama (with John Hammond)
7. I'm Ready (with John Hammond)
8. Instrumental (with James Cotton)
9. Mississippi Mud (with James Cotton)
10. Got My Mojo Working (with James Cotton)

Related articles:

James Cotton / Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI Feb. 2009
James Cotton (19th Annual Chicago Blues Festival) - Festival review - Chicago, IL June 2002
Charlie Musselwhite (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2013) - Festival review - May 2013
Charlie Musselwhite (Chicago Blues Festival 2009) - Festival review - June 2009
Charlie Musselwhite - Continental Drifter - Album review
Charlie Musselwhite - Rough News - Album review
Charlie Musselwhite & Various Artists - The I-10 Chronicles - Album review
John Hammond - Wicked Grin - Album review

Charlie Musselwhite & John Hammond
Charlie Musselwhite & John Hammond
James Cotton
James Cotton
Charlie Musselwhite
Charlie Musselwhite
John Hammond
John Hammond
Charlie Musselwhite
Charlie Musselwhite
James Cotton
James Cotton
John Hammond
John Hammond

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