Friday, January 23, 2015

Charlie Poole: North Carolina Rambler

Charlie Poole was one of a handful of individuals recording country music in the days before The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers made the music popular in the late Twenties. Poole and his band, “The North Carolina Ramblers,” were one of the most popular and prolific of the “hillbilly” bands to record in the mid-Twenties. Traditional country was rich and colorful, and Poole was one of the best from its early days.

Poole was born in Eden, North Carolina, in 1892. He was a banjo player, and he and his band, the North Carolina Ramblers, made their first recording, “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down.” in 1925. Poole wrote songs that reflected the harsh realities of life for the southern poor and his own struggles with alcoholism, a disease which would eventually kill him.

Songs such as “Can I Sleep in your Barn Tonight Mister,” “Take a Drink on Me,” and “All Go Hungry Hash House” paint vivid pictures of that life. Poole even dabbled in the political arena with his classic, “White House Blues.”

Several compilations exist with these songs and many more.
Charlie Poole (left) and the North Carolina Ramblers