Charley Booker was born and raised in Sunflower County, in the Mississippi Delta, with the sound of original Blues music all around him. The plantation where Charley grew up is just east of Indianola, where Charley reported seeing Charley Patton play. Charley’s uncle played with Patton and the kid was playing guitar in local juke-joints as a teenager. Relocating to Greenville in 1947, Charley played with pianist Willie Love, and sat in with passing Blues legends like Rice ‘Sonny Boy II’ Miller, Elmore James and Ike Turner. Ike was working as a scout for the Bihari Bros. Modern label in Memphis, and he arranged a recording session for Charley in January 1952, where he cut four of his own tracks and played guitar on six more tracks by Houston Baines, with Ike on harp. Later that year, Charley also cut a few more unreleased tracks for Sam Phillips‘ new Sun label, with Johnny ‘Big Moose’ Walker on piano.
Ike Turner plays piano on ‘Charley’s Boogie-Woogie’;
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Charley’s records always sold pretty well around Memphis, but he didn’t make much impact outside his home region. Nevertheless, Charley’s work is often included in compilations of post-WWII Blues records, and all the un-issued Sun material has come to light that way. In 1973, Charley led ‘The King Biscuit Boys’ at a Blues Festival in South Bend IN, with Joe Willie Wilkins, Houston Stackhouse, Brewer Phillips and Ted Harvey, which yielded a fine session of live Memphis Blues. Charley had made South Bend his home, and he passed away there in 1989.