Excerpted from an October 1997 telephone interview with Charlie Musselwhite conducted by Tokyo-based blues writer Allan Murphy and Colin Talcroft
Allan Murphy: What kind of man was Robert Nighthawk?
Charlie Musselwhite: To me, the side I saw of him--I don't know if there were other sides--he was real friendly, sort of reserved. He never lost his cool in any way; he was always in control, but not in control like "uptight," he was just....
AM: On top of things?
CM: Yeah, and just a real smooth operator. I remember the first time I met him. I was in Pepper's Lounge, I was sitting at the bar and the place was packed, and I saw coming through the door Big Walter Horton and he had some guy with him that I didn't know. And they kind of threaded their way through the crowd and got over to where I was sitting, and Walter said, "Charlie, I want you to meet my old friend Robert Nighthawk." And I thought, indeed! Out of that whole crowd, he just looked really cool. People like looked at him....
Colin Talcroft: The man had a presence?
CM: Yeah, really. He walked into the room and everybody was wondering who it was. He had a process and a sharp kind of a sport coat on. He always dressed nice that I saw him. He looked cool--not flashy--but cool, just below flashy.
CT: So, he was aware of his style?
CM: He was stylish in a reserved way.