Joe´s Music Rack
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Charlie Adams

Born: 1920 - Waco, Texas
Died -

He grew up playing alongside local youngsters. He recalls playing for cream puffs as a child before graduating to small beer joints as a teenager, working for two dollars a night. By the mid-30s, he was playing guitar with the Melody Boys, who managed to land a Saturday night radio spot on WACO. Bob Wills and Milton Brown were the groupís main inspiration. but Adams left the Melody Boys in 1937. He worked with various groups, and joined the WACO staff band, the Rhythm Riders in 1941, but soon was drafted as a medic. He served in Europe. When he returned home in 1946, he did catch on with honky-tonker Hank Thompson, with whom he recorded for Blue Bonnet in 1947, then joined the Lone Star Payboys, the areaís most popular country dance band. That summer he toured California alongside Hank Thompsonís band. Vince Incardona was the manager and heís ask everybody to do a song or two, and I think the first song I did was Lovesick Blues. This proved more and more popular, so novelties with yodeling (If you can call it that, Adams laughs) became Adamsí trademark, but he was far better when playing it straight on honky-tonk ballads.

It remains unclear how Adams came to be forth as a featured vocalist. Lew Chudd, of Imperial Records, apparently liked both Adamsí songs and his voice and decided to record him as a solo, with the Playboys merely as backing band. At dances and on radio, Adams remained simply the Playboysí bassist who sometimes sang. On jukeboxes, he became an increasingly popular singer. He had three sessions on Imperial, alternating novelties and ballads, from these Iím an Army Man. Adams says he never had a formal contract with Imperial, and it is also unclear how Paul Cohen of Decca Records became interested in Adams. He had a field trip to Dallas in April 1951 to record local acts like Dub Dickerson and Clay Allen. On June 6, Adams cut his first Decca sides at an isolated session at Jim Beckís studio. Nothing really scored. For his second session, Decca insisted that he form his own touring band to promote his records, hence the Western All-Stars. They toured Texas and neighboring states. The band stayed behind, however when Adams cut his third Decca session. Paul Cohenís interest in Texas-based artists lessened, and he had forged an arrangement with Owen Bradley in Nashville that guaranteed a certain amount of session work for Bradley regulars. Guitarists Chet Atkins and Grady Martin, Floyd Cramer on piano, Tommy Jackson on fiddle, Ernie Newton on bass and Farris Coursey on drums, added by a talented 18 years-old steel-guitarist from Shreveport, Jimmy Day. Two sides remained unissued but Decca 28397 coupled the fine T T Boogie, the melody of which Adams lifted entirely from the jazz standard The Jazz Me Blues, and the ballad Before You Say I Do. It was the best seller Adams ever had.

The December í52 Hank Williams tour was a memorable one and neither Adams nor his fiddler George Uptmor recall having any inkling that Williams was not long for this world. He never told us how to play, recalls Uptmor, but I knew what he wanted, so I tried to play as close as Jerry Rivers (Williamsí former fiddler) as I could. In addition to Williams, the Western All-Stars backed other stars like Marty Robbins, Webb Pierce and even Ernest Tubb, who would come to Texas with only Billy Byrd in tow and augment him with Adamsí group.

While Decca may have lost interest, old friend Jim Beck steered Columbiaís Don Law toward Williams. In the fall of 1953, Adams signed up with Columbia and for the first time used the Western All-Stars on record. He cut the at the insistence of Don Law the strange novelty Hey! Liberace (about the then effeminate TV sex symbol), which proved to be his biggest seller. From his second session (March í54) came the fine Iím a Railroad Daddy, the last novelty yodel he did from his Imperial days four years before. Still there were tours, for example backing Frankie Miller. On his next session Adams cut Cattiní Around, the closest he went to Western Swing, also the closest to fiddler Harry Choatesí 1950 Catín Around. By the time of the next session at Jim Beckís, nine months later, things had changed a lot.

Television and RockíníRoll. So nothing scored. Adams toured West, Texas, Colorado, Utah during 1955. Early 1956, the final Columbia session for Charlie Adams. The material cut reflected the changing marketplace. Sugar Diet and Blackland Blues both showed the influence of RockíníRoll, although they were still decidedly Country and more R&B than Rockabilly or RockíníRoll. Shortly after (in 1958) Adams disillusioned quit touring. He wanted to watch his second son grow as he didnít the first one, and wished to be father and husband. So he settled in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he built up a successful insurance business. Thatís where he still lives today.



Charlie Adams
Joe's Music Rack
part of