On This Day #49 – Charlie Moore

On this Day …

On February 5, 1959, Starday Records purchased the masters for four of Charlie Moore’s religious recordings that were later released on the EP SEP-103.

The songs involved were No Grave (Is Gonna Keep This Soul of Mine); Over in Gloryland; When They Crucified My Lord and Why Is Mother Buried (in a Grave so Deep) were recorded during October 1958 at WFBC Radio Station, Greenville, South Carolina, by Charlie Moore (guitar and vocals), Ansel Guthrie (mandolin and vocals), Curley Ellis (banjo and vocals) and Robert Ellis (bass).

Charlie Moore specialist Travers Chandler speaks highly of these recordings ….

“I’ve been listening to these tracks and a couple of things have always stuck out to me. Charlie is relatively young (23) yet his lead singing already shows the clarity, phrasing and maturity that would later bring him renown with Bill Napier and their affiliation with King Records.

Second, these are the hardest edge ‘lonesome style’ bluegrass recordings he ever laid down. The band was good, all fellow residents of the Greenville, South Carolina area, and he chose to write and arrange these songs completely in the style of the Stanley Brothers of the 1940s Columbia period, stacking the harmonies in a baritone, tenor and high baritone… These recordings alone stand as an important piece of evidence in the case for Charlie’s rightful place amongst the greats.

The band at the time was working TV in the Greenville-Spartanburg market and at the time if you had that kind of exposure, it wasn’t too difficult to obtain a label deal. Starday chose to release these sessions as an EP. Interestingly there are Starday tracks around this period featuring Bobby Thompson playing banjo with Charlie. Sadly for us, these were never released.”

No Grave (Is Gonna Keep This Soul of Mine) and Why Is Mother Buried (in a Grave so Deep) are included in the 4-CD box-set The Best of King and Starday Bluegrass (King KG-0952-2).

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.