You Ain't Talkin' to Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music

comment
You Ain't Talkin' to Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: You Ain't Talkin' to Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music

Charlie Poole was a heavy-drinking, banjo-picking motherfucker, prone to mercurial temper flares and sublime music-making. Though his hardscrabble roots in the North Carolina Piedmont informed his behavior, his playing style and suit-and-tie presentation insisted that he was no hokey purveyor of hillbilly music. The sides Poole recorded in the '20s and '30s (all of which are gathered on this beautiful three-CD box set) were revolutionary; not only did he revisit familiar country tunes, but in the same way that Bessie Smith didn't allow herself to be strictly limited to the blues, he dug into other popular genres – ragtime, blues, Tin Pan Alley – to create a singular style. This set is marvelously remastered, making decades-old material sound fresh, but it's also a bit confusing. As the unwieldy subtitle indicates, this box is not just about Charlie Poole, but also about "the roots of country music," which means that Poole shares space with his predecessors, contemporaries and copycats. It makes for a highly listenable set of early country music, but it also unnecessarily shifts the focus away from an important figure.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.