b. Charles Waterford, 21 October 1919, Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA. Waterford’s parents, who were both musicians, taught their son to sing. His first professional jobs were with Andy Kirk’s 12 Clouds Of Joy and Leslie Sheffield’s Rhythmaires. Waterford became known as ‘the Crown Prince Of The Blues’ during his brief stay with Jay McShann’s Orchestra, during which time he recorded for Philo/Aladdin and Premier/ Mercury. Usurped by Jimmy Witherspoon, Waterford went solo in 1946 to record in Chicago for Hy-Tone, and the following year recorded his most celebrated tracks in Los Angeles for Capitol Records with Pete Johnson’s band. These included the salacious ‘Move Your Hand Baby’. Waterford rejoined McShann at a 1949 recording session for Jack Lauderdale and made four superb tracks for King with young Harold Land And His All-Stars, and another four with the Joe Thomas Orchestra. A mid-50s session for Excello Records resulted in two tracks of prime blues shouting, but later records for Orbit and Stampede tried to appeal to the twist craze and sank into obscurity. By contrast, Waterford’s earlier sides show him to be an original blues singer; most of his songs were self-penned and featured highly original and evocative lyrics. Waterford is still alive, and much of his time over the past 30 years had been devoted to the church until 2003, when he recorded an all-new album.
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