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So Mamie don't you feel blue, 'cause lots of girls wish they were Mamie Smith too - Mamie Smith, Mamie Smith Blues, 1922

Author Topic: C.C. Richardson - Charleston, W. Va.  (Read 2825 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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C.C. Richardson - Charleston, W. Va.
« on: November 24, 2007, 10:49:22 AM »
For my sins back in 1972 I got involved with a short-lived UK blues magazine and trawling through a box of ephemera etc originally sent to the magazine's editor I came across an envelop containing a photograph and letter from C.C. Richardson together with a news clipping from The Charleston Gazette (Saturday January 20, 1973) which reads thus:

City blues artist C.C. Richardson
getting attention from around globe
By Ray Brack

The bed in C. C. Richardson's Morris Street bungalow was heaped with two piles of letters.

One stack contained requests from all over the world for his two blues singles. The other pile was thank-yous from satisfied customers.

And C. C. was beaming, because that ain't bad recognition for a one-legged country blues man, past 50, working at the post office and moonlighting his music around the world pretty much by himself.

Close to a celebrity now among the college-age blues freaks, Clarence has scored a couple breaks and has an international audience. He's big in Helsinki and Osaka, Beaumont, London and Boston.

"If I only had two or three gigs around here," he mused over a playback of the tape of a radio show he did recently for Hugh McPherson, "I could quit at the post office."

With the encouragement of local blues freaks like Terry Lowry, C. C. has been playing everything he can around here: a peace rally on Christmas Eve a couple years ago, the Paul Nuchims show, some of the Kanawha State Forest festivals, the Morris Family thing up at Ivydale. And word starts getting around. Clarence puts names down in his notebook and starts sending out records and tapes. First thing he knows a fellow named Bass out in Oakland, Calif., has sent his records and a biographical paragraph or two on C.C. to one of the world's most-read blues collector's magazines, ''Blues Unlimited," published in England.

All "Blues Unlimited" did was run a short review of C.C.'s two singles, "C.C.'s Blues" backed with "Hey Night" and "Don't Do It" backed with "What More Can Jesus Do."

"Really good singles," the reviewer wrote' "C.C. plays in melodic, East Coast fashion. His voice is strong and throaty." - Pow! That was last May.

Since then other blues magazines, including one in Finland, have picked up , on the C.C. story and cards and letters from everywhere have been flowing in to 410C Morris St. One even arrived the other day from Poland, in Polish. Anybody who can read that language please look C.C. up. The only word he recognizes in the letter is "album," and that worries him. He doesn't have an album for sale.

Fellow in Japan sent C.C. $17 for some records and then wrote back after receiving the blues: "Your voice is very good like Lightnin' Hopkins' and you're very good at playing guitar. I dig the blues." A photo was enclosed. Young guy.

In the letter stacks, one sticks out from Wheeling. "I will tell some of my blues buddies in New York, Chicago and Massachusetts about your records. I m sure you'll be getting orders from some of them." C.C. did, scores of letters with a dollar or two in each, but not enough to up and quit the post office.

Marcel M. Vos, a Dutchman, member of "Blues Friends World Wide," wrote, "I have mailed your records to a friend in France who is a disc jockey with the French radio and he will see to it that your records will get a little airplay in his program, which specializes in blues and jazz."

Over in England (Sandhurst, Kent) a John Stedman read about C.C., maybe heard him on the radio, and sent for Richardson's two singles. Later he wrote back, "Perhaps one day you might have a chance to come to Europe. I'm sure you'd be very successful if you did." Could be. A lot of blues ant jazz greats had to go to Europe to get comfortable.

Another Hollander, Hans Vergeer, sent an order with the comment, "I have read a little article on you and the blues you made." Could have been any number of little articles in the blues sheets circulating around Europe. C. C. Richardson. the blues great from West Virginia.   Only his fans abroad are more sophisticated. They know C.C.'s roots, because that's important. Typical of the way the letters treat the roots is one from Londoner Bill Pearson, 26: "I liked the recordings you sent, particularly 'C.C.'s Blues. 'That's a down-home-sounding cut. There's some nice piano tinkling away on the two sides on your own Richardson label. Your original home of South Carolina is quite famous among blues collectors for its blues styles."

C.C. deals with all that derivation stuff offhandedly. "I started out playing around the home with my Granddaddy.

He strayed onto a railroad spur as a boy and lost a leg. But he still couldn't resist the girls and became the county's best dancer. He got enough of a reputation to catch on as a singer-dancer with the Silas Green Show. He hit the road, all the spots in the Southeast. All the way up to Baltimore. Once he worked with the Benny Carter jazz band. One or two other name groups.

There's a Doty Tullas down in Beaumont, Tex., who orders C.C.'s records 50 at a time. She's either dealing or needs a new needle.

WTWC-FM at Champaign, 111., has been playing C.C.'s blues. A lot of orders have come in from Brooklyn.

Blues in the Communist bloc? From Poland writes a Miroslaw Zajac. As yet C.C. doesn't know what the dude writes, but it looks friendly.

Richardson is wondering if maybe his international acceptance might have already outstripped local demand for his records and in-person performance talents. Isn't there a gig around for a local guy who sells records in 50 countries? And why, he ponders, does he sell more records in Boston than in Charleston?

"I," insists C.C., "would even join the union."

That's C. C. Richardson; 410-C Morris St.; Charleston, W. Va., telephone 342 01302.


« Last Edit: November 24, 2007, 10:51:31 AM by Bunker Hill »

 


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