In 1987, 18-month-old Jessica McClure fell down a narrow well in Midland, Texas, and was trapped for three days before being rescued. Among the millions worldwide transfixed by the ordeal was Charlie Musselwhite, the blues-harmonica virtuoso.
The event’s life-altering impact on Musselwhite inspired a song that is the title track for his latest, heavily autobiographical album, “The Well” (Alligator), among the best releases in a career that stretches back to the explosive Chicago blues scene of the ‘60s.
Musselwhite had been drinking excessively since he came to Chicago in 1962 looking for work after growing up in the South. By ’87, he was downing as much as two quarts of alcohol a day.