First broadcast June 10, 2005

Exploring Charlie Poole and String Band Music

10 p.m. to Midnight Host: Steve Winters

This was a night of string band music, highlighted by a “show within a show” that focused on the musical genius of Charlie Poole (1892-1931), often dubbed the “Robert Johnson of country music.”

The “show within a show” was a one-hour documentary prepared by the good folks at Joyride Media and hosted by musician Laura Cantrell and featuring commentary from music historians Henry “Hank” Sapoznik and Kinney Rorrer and demonstrations and explanations of Poole’s unique banjo style by Bela Fleck and Tony Trishka.

The documentary was produced to promote Columbia/Legacy Record’s release of a 3-CD box set, “You Ain’t Talkin’ To Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music.” The set, which includes rare tracks by Poole’s heroes and performers he influenced, is one of the most comprehensive review of Poole’s music ever released.

I programmed classic and contemporary string band “bookends” at both ends of the special.

Charlie Poole lived a relatively short life because of his hard living and hard drinking. He was a legendary banjo player and songwriter who, with his trio, The North Carolina Ramblers, wrote and recorded country music’s first mega-hit record, “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down.” Later landmark work by Bill Monroe and Hank Williams bears a direct connection to Poole’s music.

  • Artist, "Title", Album, Label

  • Highwoods String Band, “Dance Medley”, Live!, Mudthumper Music

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  • Riley Puckett & Ted Hawkins, “Ragged But Right”, Ragged But Right, RCA Heritage

  • Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers, “Soldier’s Joy”, Ragged But Right, RCA Heritage

  • Ted Hawkins & Riley Puckett, “Tokyo Rag”, Ragged But Right, RCA Heritage

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  • New Lost City Ramblers, “Bill Morgan And His Gal”, Classic Old-Time Music, Smithsonian Folkways

  • Old Reliable String Band, “Streets Of Glory”, Classic Old-Time Music, Smithsonian Folkways

  • Spare Change Boys, “Policeman”, Classic Old-Time Music, Smithsonian Folkways

  • Gordon Tanner et al, “Down Yonder”, Classic Old-Time Music, Smithsonian Folkways

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  • Charlie Poole: “You Ain’t Talkin’ To Me” Radio Special/Part I, , ,

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  • Charlie Poole: “You Ain’t Talkin’ To Me” Radio Special/Part II, , ,

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  • The Homegrown String Band, “High On A Mountain”, Rock Hollow, Independent

  • The Raisin Pickers, “Tracks On My Tears”, Michigan Wind, Independent

  • Well-Tempered String Band, “Good Enough For Now”, Book Two, Independent

  • Top Drawer String Band, “Big Nick’s Rolling Reel/Sean Rio’s”, Top Drawer String Band, Fossil