“Up in NYC”: An Unofficial LW3 Slideshow about Charlie Poole

This is the second slideshow I’ve done based on a song from High Wide and Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project (2nd Story Sound Records 2009). Where the first, Acres of Diamonds, was a song in Charlie’s vein (actually written by the album’s producer, Dick Connette), this is a song about an episode in Charlie’s life written by Loudon Wainwright III and Dick Connette. As far as it goes, it is pretty accurate.  Charlie’s band–Charlie, Posey Rorer, and Clarence Foust (aka The North Carolina Ramblers)–did go up to New York City from Passaic for an audition with Frank Walker of Columbia records, who was so impressed they cut four sides that very afternoon of Monday, July 27th, 1925. They were paid $25 a man ($75 total), with “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down Blues,” selling 102.000 copies, a siginificant hit for the time. As the song details, Poole was reluctant to return and record more for a label that had paid less than a hundred dollars for recordings that had netted the Columbia more than $40,000 in sales. What the song does not say is that he and the Ramblers did return in 1926 with a better deal and recorded another eighteen tracks for Frank Walker.  The band broke up in an argument over royalties in 1928, but Charlie continued recording successful records with other musicians until the Depression hit, dying before his time at the end of a thirteen week bender in 1931.  {Virtually all of the information above is from the fascinating introductory booklet that comes with the 2 CD set}.

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