Album: Loudon Wainwright III, High, Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project (Proper)

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The Independent Culture

Charlie Poole was a roguish, semi-literate banjo-playing minstrel of the 1920s prohibition era, a rapscallion entertainer whose intemperate worldview is succinctly summarised in Loudon Wainwright's title-track to this 2-CD tribute to his enduring influence.

Though Poole wrote little of his own material, his versions made songs like "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" and "Didn't He Ramble" cornerstones of the popular music of his era, and many of them are rendered here alongside newly-written items in period style, illustrating events in Poole's life. Wainwright and producer Dick Connette have solicited contributions from members of the extended Wainwright clan and friends such as David Mansfield, rendering tracks in a variety of styles. Poole's repertoire featured plenty of railroad and rambling songs, humorous songs such as the fanciful "I'm The Man Who Rode The Mule Around The World", sentimental chestnuts, rural spirituals, and a tranche of drinking dirges such as "Goodbye Booze", words he never uttered with sincerity. Poole died aged 39, following a 13-week alcoholic binge.

Download this: High, Wide & Handsome, The Deal, Took My Gal Out Walkin'