Charley Lincoln was the recording name of Charley Hicks, the elder brother of Robert Hicks, who is better remembered as ‘Barbecue Bob‘. Born in 1900 in Lithonia GA, Charley was taught guitar by Curley Weaver‘s mother Savannah and as young men, Curley, Bob and Charley were part of a loose collection of musicians who played together on the streets of Atlanta, known as ‘The Georgia Cotton Pickers’. Other occasional members of the group included Blind Willie McTell, Peg-Leg Howell and Buddy Moss. They would play at parties and fish-fries, where their up-tempo, Ragtime influenced music was great for dancing. Many recordings in this Piedmont Blues style have distinctive fingerpicking guitar work, and the Cotton Pickers coupled this with the country harp of Curley or Buddy to release some good-selling local hits.
Laughing Charley’s ‘Doodle-Hole Blues’ from 1930;
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[stextbox id=”custom” caption=”Charley Lincoln Discography” float=”true” align=”left” width=”350″]Most of ‘Laughin Charley’s best known tracks are here including DerotpBlues, If it Looks Like Jelly & Shakes Like Jelly, and Doodle-Hole Blues. Twelve of Charley’s tracks for Columbia are joined by ten from his contemporary Willie Baker in a high value package.
CHARLEY LINCOLN AND WILLIE BAKER (1927-1930)
[/stextbox]Charley also recorded with his brother Bob after he was signed to Columbia Records when a scout saw him entertaining at a barbecue, pulling out a guitar to entertain the diners after he had finished cooking. Charley played ‘second’ guitar on almost all the Barbecue Bob records, but his own strong deep voice and flashy guitar tricks got him a contract with Columbia too. Issued under the name ‘Laughing Charley’, a slightly ironic reference to his mournful tone, his recordings show him to be a much under-rated stylist of the Atlanta school with a talent for witty songwriting. In 1931, his brother Bob caught pneumonia and passed away, and record sales had gone through the floor as a result of the depression, so Charley never recorded again. He continued to play in Atlanta until 1955 when he was convicted of murder, and he died in prison from a brain haemorrhage in 1963.