b. 3 September 1925, Quiver Valley, near Sunflower, Mississippi, USA, d. 20 September 1989, South Bend, Indiana, USA. While some singers left Mississippi to seek wider recognition, others like Charley Booker remained, their music retaining traditions that urban sophistication expunged. Booker learned the guitar from his father, Lucius, and uncle, Andrew Shaw. Boyd Gilmore was a childhood friend. He moved to Greenville in 1947, playing in drummer Jesse ‘Cleanhead’ Love’s band, and broadcasting over WGVM radio. In January 1952, along with Gilmore and harmonica player Houston Boines, he recorded four titles with Ike Turner, released on the Modern and Blues & Rhythm labels. ‘Rabbit Blues’, ‘Moonrise Blues’, ‘No Ridin’ Blues’ and ‘Charley’s Boogie Woogie’, sung in a distinctive voice with natural vibrato, revealed the influence of Charley Patton. Within a year, he recorded in Memphis for Sam Phillips, but the trenchantly rhythmic ‘Walked All Night’ and ‘Baby I’m Coming Home’ were not released until 1977. Booker moved to South Bend, Indiana, in 1953, where he remained, performing only rarely, until his death in 1989.
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