About The Artist
Charlie Moore, during the 1960's and 1970's, had one of the best lead voices among bluegrass vocalists. From 1962 until 1967, in partnership with instrumental wizard, Bill Napier (1935-2000), and their Dixie Partners, he recorded nine long play albums for the King Label.
After their partnership dissolved, he soon formed a new band and recorded about fifteen more albums for Wango, Vetco, Leather, and especially Old Homestead.
Sadly during his last years, he also fought a long and losing battle with the effects of alcoholism.
A native of Piedmont, South Carolina, Charlie began to play on local radio and TV while still in high school. Shortly afterward, he played for a time with Cousin Wilbur [Wesbrooks] also on TV in the Carolinas. By 1959, he had gone back on his own forming his first version of the Dixie Partners.
Country Song Roundup told readers that Ansel Gutherie played mandolin and sang tenor lead for the three members of the Dixie Partners in 1959. Curly Ellis played the five string banjo. The magazine told readers the trio had a television show that aired on Saturday nights called "Carolina Promenade Party."
He made his first recordings, a pair of extended play 45's, on Starday. About 1962, he joined forces with former Stanley Brothers sideman Bill Napier, who in addition to the fine work he had already achieved on mandolin and lead guitar, proved himself to be almost equally accomplished on five-string banjo. In fact, since Napier could only play one instrument at a time, critics complained that the whole band did not always measure up.
Over a five year period beginning on December 28, 1962, Moore & Napier and their Dixie Partners cut nine albums for King Records. That first session produced their most successful song, "Truck Driver's Queen." They did their last session with King in October 1966, dissolving their partnership several months later.
During their time together Charlie and Bill were usually based at TV stations in either the Carolinas or in Florida, particularly in Panama City where they had a virtual monopoly on live entertainment, although Charlie later complained that half of the signal covered the Gulf while the other half was mostly a swamp. For some months, they also had a regular TV program in Pensacola, which they later described as among their most lucrative.
They also spent some time as regulars at the World's Original Jamboree at WWVA in Wheeling. While the band often borrowed session musicians from the Cincinnati bluegrass community (e. g. Paul Mullins and Jim McCall), they did have some quality band members at least part of the time such as Curly Lambert and/or Jimmy Williams on mandolin, and long-time bass man Henry Dockery.
After doing deejay work for a year or so, by early 1969, Charlie Moore had put together a new Dixie Partner band and recorded a new album Charlie Bluegrass for a label called Country Jubilee which included such support musicians as Larry Jefferson (mandolin), Al Osteen (banjo), Charles Hutsen (fiddle), and Sam Cobb/Henry Dockery (bass). This proved to be the first of a decade of heavy recording.
Ten of his long play albums appeared on the Michigan-based Old Homestead label, but there were also two on Vetco, and one each on Wango and Leather (all bluegrass specialty firms). In addition he did a reunion album with Napier on Old Homestead, and in European tours, he did one album in Belgium and another in the Netherlands.
Sidemen with the Dixie Partners for stints of varied length included such figures as newcomers Ben Green, Terry Baucom, and Butch Robbins along with veterans Johnny Dacus, Curly Lambert, Larry Jefferson, Al Elliott, and Henry Dockery.
For a time a girl vocalist-Lois Constable-worked with Moore and the two were briefly married. Charlie worked often at the growing number of bluegrass festivals and also renewed his affiliation with the WWVA's Jamboree USA.
Despite artistic success, Moore was not doing much more than keeping a band going on the road. His health became ever more delicate and his dependency on alcohol continued. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 1979 he played a show at the Mountaineer Opry House in Milton, West Virginia and left for his next show in Baltimore, Maryland. The band admitted him to a hospital and within days he lapsed into a coma and expired after several more days.
Old Homestead had a sufficient number of recordings yet to release that ultimately came out on later albums.
A touching memorial was published in The News Leader of Staunton, Virginia on December 24, 1979 by Charlie's son and daughter, Loyd and Kathy.
Credits & Sources
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