Good Rockin' Charles aka Charles Edwards

Born: Mar. 4, 1933 Tuscaloosa, AL

good rockin charlesHarpist Good Rockin' Charles is best-known for a solo he didn't play. Suffering from a bad case of studio fright, Charles chickened out of playing on guitarist Jimmy Rogers' 1956 Chess waxing of "Walking by Myself" -- leaving the door wide-open for Big Walter Horton to blow a galvanic solo that rates among his very best. Charles' domestic solo discography consists of one nice album for Steve Wisner's short-lived Mr. Blues logo in 1975.

Inspired by both Sonny Boys and Little Walter, Charles Edwards began playing harp shortly after hitting Chicago in 1949. He played with a plethora of local luminaries -- Johnny Young, Lee Jackson, Arthur Spires, Smokey Smothers -- before joining Rogers's combo in 1955. Cobra Records also tried and failed to corral him for a session in 1957.

Bassist Hayes Ware was instrumental in finally convincing the elusive Good Rockin' into a studio for Mr. Blues, where he shook the walls with revivals of classics by both Sonny Boys, Rogers, and Jay McShann. Unfortunately, it would prove the extent of the mysterious harpist's recorded legacy.

Sources: Bill Dahl, Rovi, Alabama Music Hall of Fame

The elusive Chicago harpist's one and only full-length album, originally issued on Steve Wisner's short-lived Mr. Blues logo and later picked up by Rooster Blues (but not available on CD as yet). Cut in 1975, this set shows that Charles never left the 1950s stylistically -- backed by a nails-tough combo, he pays tribute to both Sonny Boys and his ex-boss Jimmy Rogers while betraying more than a hint of Little Walter influence. ~ Bill Dahl, Rovi



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