Charlie MooreView in iTunes
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Known as one of classic bluegrass music's most soulful vocalists, Charlie Moore also contributed the undying "Legend of the Rebel Soldier" to the genre's stock of songs known to all. Raised in Piedmont, SC, Moore learned guitar when he was young and heard mountain music on radio stations from Charlotte and Greenville. Landing a radio slot in Asheville, NC, in 1956 and starring in a short-lived television show in Spartanburg, SC, the following year, Moore cultivated a vocal style that perfectly blended the forceful nasal sound of Bill Monroe and other pioneers with a smoother, quieter voice production influenced by contemporary country developments. Moore put together the first version of his Dixie Partners band in 1957 and made his recording debut for Starday the following year. In 1960 Moore and Bill Napier (formerly a member of the Stanley Brothers' band) teamed up to form the duo of Moore and Napier, signing with King Records and recording nine albums during the '60s. Among the 108 songs Moore and Napier released on King were several that would become bluegrass standards: "Truck Driver's Queen," for example, was covered by both Jimmy Martin and the Willis Brothers. After splitting with Napier in 1969, Moore staged a comeback in the early '70s with a new edition of the Dixie Partners. The band cut one album for the Country Jubilee label and recorded for other independent labels during the next two years. During this time, Moore became a member of the popular Wheeling Jamboree radio show and made frequent appearances on the festival circuit and in clubs. After 1973, Moore recorded mostly for Michigan's Old Homestead label. One of his most widely heard songs was "The Legend of the Rebel Soldier," a ballad of a Confederate fighter, dying "in a dreary Yankee prison," who asks, "Oh, parson, tell me quickly, will my soul pass through the southland?" The song was later included in the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Country Music. During the '70s, Moore endured several personal tragedies, and his drinking habits led to liver difficulties and poor health. Although he attempted to keep performing and touring, Moore finally died in 1979 after falling into a coma. ~ Sandra Brennan and James Manheim