Boy, Did They Ramble
Charlie Poole was one of the founding fathers of recorded country music. His distinctive voice and innovative banjo playing have made Poole legendary. His band, The North Carolina Ramblers featured equally accomplished musicians. Charlie was born in 1892, in North Carolina. Around 1900 his family moved to Haw River in search of mill work. Charlie worked in the mill from an early age. Hours were long and wages were poor - $3 a week is cited. As to music, he appears to have made himself a banjo out of a gourd. Once at work he bought a proper instrument. In 1912 he married. The relationship failed, due to his rambling habits, but did produce a son. On one of his rambling jaunts, around 1917, he met fiddle player Posey Rorer. The third member of what would become the North Carolina Ramblers was guitarist Norman Woodlief. Poole claimed they'd recorded at a field session for OKeh in 1925 but no discs have been found. In July 1925, the three travelled to New York to cut four sides for Columbia. Poole would remain with the label until his final recording session. The four pieces cut at the initial Columbia session are presented here in the order they were cut but Columbia issued Can I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight b/w Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues. The sales were 102,000 at a time when 5000 was reckoned a good seller and 20,000 a hit. The Ramblers took up music full time. At some point Woodlief left the group although he did perform with them occasionally. The fine guitarist Roy Harvey replaced him. With their first issues a success Columbia wanted the Ramblers back in the studios - which Charlie was disinclined to do. He may have been dissatisfied with his royalties and felt the longer he ignored Columbia's pleadings the better the terms he'd get. In fact he did return often to the studio - producing in the process some of the finest music of the era. His waywardness persisted. He died in 1931 after a drinking bout that allegedly had lasted three months.
Label: JSP Records
Release Date: 01/25/05
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