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Review: You Ain't Talkin' To Me - Charlie Poole


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Jerry Rasmussen 20 May 05 - 10:28 AM
Chris in Wheaton 20 May 05 - 10:57 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 May 05 - 11:07 AM
GLoux 20 May 05 - 12:02 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 May 05 - 01:15 PM
GLoux 20 May 05 - 02:09 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 May 05 - 02:39 PM
GUEST 20 May 05 - 04:46 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 May 05 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,Josepp 29 Jun 12 - 11:08 PM
Beer 29 Jun 12 - 11:19 PM
Desert Dancer 30 Jun 12 - 07:35 PM
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Subject: You Ain't Talkin' To Me - Charlie Poole
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 May 05 - 10:28 AM

Just got a newly issued boxed set titled You Ain't Talkin' To Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music. I already have most of Charlie's music on CD, but this was a rare instance when the packaging and inclusion of additional artists made it well worth the expense. The set includes versions of Poole's songs recorded by his contemporaries, and versions of songs by his contemporaries that were the original recordings which served as a source for Poole's. That means, for example, that there are additional lyrics to songs like Moving Day on the Arthur Collins recording. There are also the original recordings of some of my very favorite Poole recordings, like Come Take A Trip In My Airship by Billy Murray and Goodbye Liza Jane by the Peerless Quartet.

The collection was put together by Hank Sapoznik... a name from the past. Hank was a member of an old-time band, the Retched Refuse String Band who I booked many years ago. The packaging of the set is marvelous, in itself. It is done in the form of a cigar box, with an R. Crumb illustration of Charlie on the lid.

Even has two Fred Van Epps recordings on it. Fred Van Epps was the finest plectrum banjo player on his era and recorded many wonderful ragtime tunes with full orchestra. Almost nothing is available of his work on CD, so the two tracks are a treasure in themselves. Fred's son George is one of my favorite jazz guitar players, who plays finger-picked 7 string guitar. George was part of Pete Kelly's band in the movie Pete Kelly's Blues.

All fine stuff.


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Subject: RE: You Ain't Talkin' To Me - Charlie Poole
From: Chris in Wheaton
Date: 20 May 05 - 10:57 AM -- lots of info, liner notes and mp3's here.
My favorite is Billy Murray's Baby Rose - Jim Watson has a great recording of this, I think.
Jim also did Leaving Home, which is just a hoot to sing.


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Subject: RE: You Ain't Talkin' To Me - Charlie Poole
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 May 05 - 11:07 AM

Billy Murray is the most famous pop singer of all time that no one remembers. He had 169 top 40 hits. Forget Elvis, or the Beatles, or Frank Sinatra! He recorded early in the 20th century and recorded dozens of songs that became famous that would be familiar to everyone over the age of 50 on Mudcat (which is probably 90% of us.)


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Subject: RE: You Ain't Talkin' To Me - Charlie Poole
From: GLoux
Date: 20 May 05 - 12:02 PM

It's probably too late for you, Jerry, but today and tomorrow is the

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Subject: RE: You Ain't Talkin' To Me - Charlie Poole
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 May 05 - 01:15 PM

is the......

That's pretty open-ended, GLoux.. :-)


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Subject: RE: You Ain't Talkin' To Me - Charlie Poole
From: GLoux
Date: 20 May 05 - 02:09 PM

Whoops!!! I'm glad I came back...

Today and tomorrow is the 10th Annual Charlie Poole Festival in Eden, NC. A couple of folks I know are there.

I wonder what happened to the blue clicky in my earlier post...I even did a Preview...


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Subject: RE: You Ain't Talkin' To Me - Charlie Poole
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 May 05 - 02:39 PM

Thanks for the link, Greg... it looks like a great festival. Maybe I can get there next year. I see Hank Sapoznik is playing in the Broiklyn Corn Dodgers...


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Subject: RE: You Ain't Talkin' To Me - Charlie Poole
Date: 20 May 05 - 04:46 PM

Was Hank really with Wretched Refuse (see first message in this thread)? If he played with them, it wasn't his main gig. Back in the WR days, Hank was in another band, the Delaware Water Gap. Bob Carlin was in the Gap, too.

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Subject: RE: You Ain't Talkin' To Me - Charlie Poole
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 May 05 - 06:24 PM

You're probably right, Guest. I booked both Wretched Refuse and the Deleware Water Gap, and I do remember Bob Carlin being in the Welaware Daughter Gap. (My memory ain't what it used to be. At least as best I can remember.) And then, there was Bottle Hill (A rumor in their own time, as their album attested.) And Major Contay and The Canebrake Rattlers with my friend Pat Conte. The Rattlers played on Old Blue Suit on my first album for Folk Legacy. And the Putnam String County Band. Those were some of the days..


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Subject: Charlie Poole & the North Carolina Ramblers
From: GUEST,Josepp
Date: 29 Jun 12 - 11:08 PM

I just bought a Charlie Poole anthology "You Ain't Talkin' to Me". When they call it a boxed set, they ain't kiddin'. This set is a thing of beauty. It comes in a cardboard box that looks like wood--like a cigar box, sort of. On the lid is an R. Crumb portrait of Charlie. The lid is even sealed with a strip that says "Charlie C. Poole - Outlaw Country since 1925."

The bottom of the box has a listing of the songs and artists on the 3 discs in the set. They're not all Charlie Poole songs. Many of them are actually pieces by other artists and the following track is Charlie's version of that song. Charlie was a big fan of banjoist Fred Van Eps and of ragtime singer Arthur Collins and their songs among others appear in this set which is so fucking cool I can't even believe it.

When you flip up the lid, there is a portrait of an Appalachian scene and a beautiful booklet with extensive notes and lots of cool photos.   Under the booklet are the three discs each in its own sleeve and each sleeve has its own cover illustation. The CDs are black and silk-screened to look like the old Columbia Graphophone label which I recognize because I have a lot of old Columbia Graphophone records in my collection--mostly Wilbur Sweatman stuff which I love and adore.

For those who don't know, Charlie Poole (1892-1931) was one of the founders of country music. He preceded the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers by 2 or 3 years. But he was not quite as early as Eck Robertson whom I believe started recording in 1921. Charlie started in 1925. He teamed up with fiddler Posey Rorer and guitarist Roy Harvey in the cotton-milling town of Spray, North Carolina. He couldn't take working in the mills for long and would get out on the road with his banjo and disappear for weeks at a time playing anywhere he could get a gig. Then he'd return home and go back to the mill for a spell.

Charlie's banjo-playing was unique. There was no one else quite like him. With his bandmates, Poole provided a 3-finger rat-a-tat beat that Harvey's guitar danced around on its bass strings while Posey layered extremely fine fiddle-playing over top of. It was executed with a skill and precision found only in the finest chamber and string ensembles. When the band went to New York and auditioned at Columbia with their version of "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" they were signed on the spot. The record went on to sell over 100,000 copies which was unheard of in those days.

The Charlie and band--known as the North Carolina Ramblers--became extremely popular in the 20s. They earned money but not really what they were owed but enough that Charlie could buy himself the finest Gibson banjo on the market. When posing for photos, the band was always dressed in fine suits and ties and never in cover-alls or whatever rural folk wore or were thought to wear by city folk. But when Charlie drank up the Posey's share of the money, the ensuing falling out destroyed both their musical partnership and friendship. They never spoke again.

Charlie was a terrible drinker and couldn't lay off the stuff. Not surprisingly, he was a total hellraiser. He once assaulted a police officer who had placed him under arrest by smacking him upside the head with his banjo. I hafted a banjo in my hands a few hours ago to judge how that must have felt and I can safely say it must have goddamn well hurt. Charlie's drinking was so bad that even his neighbors back in Spray often hated him. They loved his music but they hated him. He could be a good, clean, sober guy sometimes and he could be a very bad, shit-faced drunken guy lots of other times. As the anthology points out, he was the original country outlaw.

When Charlie fell on hard times during the Depression, his label dropped him and Charlie returned to Spray. Just when he couldn't get any lower, Hollywood came a-knockin'. They wanted to film some music shorts and thought Charlie Poole would be good for business. They sent Charlie a plane ticket to come out to Hollywood. Elated, Charlie went on a bender. At some point, he was found lying in a road by some men who took him to his sister's home where he died on the porch. He was all of 39.

When Posey got word of Charlie's death, he said, "It's a shame a man like that would drink himself to death," and then Posey promptly died five years later of acute alcoholism.

When I listen to the Ramblers, I think I see where Maybelle Carter came up with the Carter lick. It sounded like she was taking Roy Harvey's bass lines and combining them with Charlie's chords on one instrument to imitate the North Carolina Ramblers. I'm just guessing though.

Charlie's career lasted a full six years but in that time he changed the course of roots music. So if you have any interest in roots music at all, get you this anthology and start diggin' it, baby!

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Subject: RE: Charlie Poole
From: Beer
Date: 29 Jun 12 - 11:19 PM

That was a great read. many thanks.

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Subject: RE: Review: You Ain't Talkin' To Me - Charlie Poole
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Jun 12 - 07:35 PM

I'll give this review a bump, too!

~ Becky in Tucson

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