Charles Caldwell

Remember Me

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The story of Charles Caldwell is that of too many bluesmen -- discovered too late. At least the Fat Possum label did find and record him before he died of cancer in September 2003. And there was no doubt this guy could play, whether on his own or accompanied by a drummer. You want raw Mississippi blues? This is it, as electric as R.L. Burnside or Junior Kimbrough, full of fire and relating tales of life, as on "Old Buck." There's a wonderful crispness to his guitar playing; to some it will sound basic, but there's plenty going on inside it, complemented by as powerful a voice as Caldwell's own singing. In songs like "I Know I Done You Wrong" you can hear echoes of Robert Johnson and Charley Patton through the ages, and even early Muddy Waters. "I Got Something to Tell You" rocks all the way to Chicago and back, while "Alone for a Long Time" hammers a beat home, strong enough to shake any house party. It all ends, somewhat poignantly, with "Remember Me." Bluesmen like this are, literally and unfortunately, a dying breed. It's too late now for Charles Caldwell. But this, the sum total of his recordings, made late in life, stands as an eloquent testament that it wasn't all in vain.

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