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Blues from the Apple

Charles Walker & the
New York City Blues Band

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

CONTENTS
Pages
3-5

Track listing and credits
1st edition (1974) &
2nd edition (2015)

Page
6-11

Producer’s note
The LP cover(s)
The recordings
2nd edition 2015

Pages
12/13

Graphics
1st edition, 1974

Pages
14-21

Liner notes,biographies &
production credits
1st edition, 1974

Pages
22-29

Blues from the Apple
By Tom Pomposello
Living Blues #18
August 1974

Page
30-38

Session photography
& ephemera

Page
39

Oblivion Records
Discography

Oblivion Records 2

Blues from the Apple
Charles Walker & the New York City Blues Band
Oblivion Records OD-4

2nd edition, Released January 2015

1. Scratch My Back
2. Black Cat Bone
3. Gladly
4. Decoration Day
5. I’m A Good Man But A Poor Man

6. Juice Head Woman 
7. Bluebird’s Blues (Medley)
8. Fast, Fast, Women and A Slow Race Horse
9. It’s Changin’ Time 
10. Meeting You

Recorded by Fred Seibert, April 1973 & May 1974 in New York City
Released Winter 1974 Cover design: Frank Olinsky www.frankolinsky.com
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Oblivion Records 3

Credits
1st edition, 1974 & 2nd edition, 2015

1. Scratch My Back (3:23)
(J.Moore [Slim Harpo];
Excellorec Music Co., BMI)
Bill Dicey. Harmonica
Charles Walker. Guitar
Ann Yancey. Guitar
Goody Hunt. Harmonica
Sonny Harden. Bass guitar
Ola Dixon. Drums
Recorded July 29, 1973
2. Black Cat Bone (2:36)
(L. R. Little; By Full Co., BMI)
Lee Roy Little. Piano and vocal
(L.R.Little; By Full Co., BMI)
Recorded April 6, 1974
3. Gladly (2:40)
(C.Walker; By Full Co., BMI)
Charles Walker. Vocal and guitar
Ann Yancey. Guitar
Bill Dicey. Harmonica
Goody Hunt. Harmonica
Sonny Harden. Bass guitar
Ola Dixon. Drums
Recorded July 29, 1973
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

4. Decoration Day (3:10)
(Sonny Boy Williamson; Arc Music, BMI)
Charles Walker. Vocal and acoustic guitar
Larry Johnson. Acoustic harmonica
Recorded April 25, 1973
5. I’m A Good Man
But A Poor Man (2:18)
(Cecil Gant/L.R.Little; By Full Co., BMI)
Lee Roy Little. Vocal & piano
Charles Walker. Guitar
Foxy Ann Yancey. Guitar
David Lee Reitman. Bass guitar
Ola Dixon. Drums
Recorded May 17, 1973
6. Juice Head Woman (4:09)
(E. Vinson, L. Zito; Pamco/LZMC, BMI)
Charles Walker. Vocal and guitar
Bill Dicey. Harmonica
Lee Roy Little. Piano
Tom Pomposello. Bass guitar
Bobby King. Rigged snare drum
Recorded May 5, 1974

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7. Bluebird’s Blues (Medley) (7:23)
a. Bluebird
b. Don’t You Ever Get Tired
of Hurting Poor Me
c. Your Evil Thoughts
d. Hurry Baby,
Please Come Home

(L.R. Little; By Full Co., BMI)
Lee Roy Little. Vocals and piano
Recorded April 6, 1974

8. Fast, Fast, Women
and A Slow Race Horse (3:43)
(C. Walker/Sonny Moore;
By Full Co., BMI)
Charles Walker. Vocal and guitar
Bill Dicey. Harmonica
Lee Roy Little. Piano
Tom Pomposello. Bass guitar
Bobby King. Rigged snare drum
Recorded May 30, 1974

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

9. It’s Changin’ Time (4:32)
(A.Yancey and B.Dicey; By Full Co., BMI)
Arranged by Tom Pomposello
Bill Dicey. Harmonica
Ann Yancey. Guitar
Charles Walker. Guitar
David Lee Reitman. Bass guitar
Ola Dixon. Drums
Recorded May 17, 1973
10. Meeting You (5:40)
(C. Walker; By Full Co., BMI)
Charles Walker. Vocals and guitar
Lee Roy Little. Piano
Ann Yancey. Guitar
David Lee Reitman. Bass guitar
Ola Dixon. Drums
Recorded May 17, 1973

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Producer’s note
Blues from the Apple
2nd edition 2015

most satisfying production in Oblivion
Records’ short history.

“You can never move too fast in this
business.”
–Producer Tom Pomposello to
co-producer Fred Seibert

Blues from the Apple was also, by far,
Oblivion Records’ worst selling record.
A shame, IMHO, given how much raw
talent was unearthed in just one vinyl LP.

It’s completely fair to say that Blues from
the Apple by Charles Walker & the New
York City Blues Band was the most
interesting, most complicated, most
frustrating, and ultimately, maybe the
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Tom Pomposello, my late friend and
partner in Oblivion, was one of the great
blues champions of the 1960’s blues
revival. From an Italian American family
on our native Long Island, his introduction to the genre spanned from Wilbert
Harrison’s Kanas City and his revelations that came from The Animals and
The Rolling Stones during the British
invasion. Like millions of others, they
led Tom to the originators hailing from
the American South, Chicago, and points
in between. Eventually, his curiosity and
musical ambitions netted his internship
as Mississippi Fred McDowell’s New
York bassist (see Oblivion’s first album,
the double Live in New York, Fred’s last
recording). But, tied to our region by his
young family and the hippie, fantastic
record store he owned, Tom longed to
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discover an original blues talent in our
own backyard.

very gratifying results.”

“We” was Tom and me. I’d been
After several false starts, during a concommandeering WKCR-FM, my college
versation with that rarity (sui generis?), a radio station for a few years while we
New York country blues singer…
were getting Oblivion together. In
Well, I’ll let Tom take it from here
addition to all the live jazz performanc(quoted from Living Blues in August
es I was engineering and producing, I’d
1974):
book the make-shift studio (set up for
announcing, not music) for Oblivion
“Last year while talking with Larry
recording, including the more than
Johnson, I asked him what had ever
dozen dates we did for Blues from the
happened to all the old blues bands
Apple over the course of more than a
that used to abound in New York City. year, starting with what was basically a
Larry admitted that New York blues
demo session for Tom’s weekend show
had really gone underground, but that “Something Inside Me.” I’d enjoyed the
a lot of older bluesmen still got toresults, but it was unclear to me exactly
gether from time to time and that ‘one why we should invest our nonexistent
man in particular, Charles Walker,
resources recording an entire LP of
he’s still tryin’ to hold a band together unknown musicians from a blues scene
and he sometimes plays around town
the fans had either completely forgotten
and in the bars around Harlem.’
or conveniently ignored. He was
convinced we’d found an undiscovered
“I met Charles soon after, got to know vein of talent and that this was our
and like him and had him up on my
moment to put Oblivion on the map.
radio show a couple of times.
Subsequently, we produced a couple
I’ll never forget Tom’s pitch: “Fred,
of recording sessions for radio with
you can never move too fast in this
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

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business.” If we didn’t act now, surely
Charles would find another recording
situation and snatch victory out of our
hands.
Both of us underestimated the Charles
Walker hustle. I guess he’d learned from
the “fast, fast women” (see Track # 8)
and kept talking us deeper and deeper
into a recording hole, until we had more
than enough to fill an entire LP. Along
the way, we’d borrowed guitars –which
he would subsequently pawn after assuring us he’d forgotten his own for that
night’s club gig– and given out more
advances than we could scrape together from our broker-than-us friends. (He
even got us to pay for his own funeral!
Believe it or not, but that’s another story
for another time.)
But, over that 18 months, Charles had
brought in an amazing array of local
talent. The amazing voice of pianist Lee
Roy Little, the unbelievably funky
drumming of Ola Mae Dixon, the power
of harpist Bill Dicey. And not for nothing, check out the photograph on page
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

42 of Foxy Ann Yancey after listening
to her jagged leads on “It’s Changin’
Time,” my favorite track. Ann wore that
sparkly evening dress during the daytime
session; that’s really her blues showing.
Hovering over it all, we had Charles
expressive vocalisms.
Finally, after hundreds of all night
editing sessions in Tom’s living room,
trying to create “ideal” takes, Blues from
the Apple, by the virtually nonexistent
Charles Walker & the New York City
Blues Band, our catch all for what was
essentially a “various artists” compilation of an imagined New York blues
“scene.” By late 1974, we’d gotten
enough cash to send masters and great
cover art by not-quite-yet MTV logo
designer Frank Olinsky to Wakefield
Manufacturing in Phoenix for quality
mastering, pressing and printing.
Then… not much.
Despite a few nice notices –“an
interesting variety of listening
experiences...
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presenting the beauty and intensity of
true and honest blues music”– the
international community of blues
fanatics pretty much ignored us. And
honestly, Oblivon
hadn’t built up
enough of a consistent reputation –this
record was only our
fourth, and the
others had been the
completely different
genres of country
blues and fusion
jazz– to force any
series listens from
friendly influencers. Sadly, when
the rubber hit the
road, we were unable to bring the album
home.
The LP cover(s)
My oldest friend is Frank Olinsky, a
talented artist even when we met at 5
years old, and the biggest music fan I
knew (both facts are still true 55 years
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

later).
I’d been trying to get Frank some
entry level design gigs, including helping him achieve the
dream of record design (music graphics
were setting the design agenda in those
days) with a single
only classic swing
label from DJ Phil
Schaap called Jazz
Session. But, for
reasons that elude
me today, I hadn’t
asked him to help
with the first three
Oblivion releases.
That oversight changed with Blues from
the Apple. Basically, a “various artists”
record, there was no dominant personality to feature with a cover photograph.
Illustration was the solution and lo and
behold, Frank was the only illustrator we
knew personally. The fact that he was
already a world class designer was a
total bonus.
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I laid out the assignment –which must
have been a complete garble, since I’d
never commissioned any artwork
before– and we
waited. As would
become usual in the
world we’ve done
over the intervening
decades, Frank hit
the ball completely out of the park.
He’d not absorbed
the not-yet-clear
decaying state of
the blues, but the
parallel of our
not-yet-resurrected
New York City.
To bring the story
up to date, Frank
went on to be one
of the recording
business premiere
designers, with
work for Smashing
Pumpkins, Alison Kraus, Sonic Youth,
The B-52s, Henry Rollins, 10,000 MaOD-4 Blues from the Apple

niacs, among his distinguished career
highlights. And that doesn’t even count
our most visible collaboration, when he
led his colleagues at
Manhattan Design
to come up with the
world famous MTV
logo for me.
Ah, to keep it in the
family, Frank
Olinsky also redesigned the entire
Oblivion cover catalog for these 2015
digital reissues.
The recording
sessions
All the Charles
Walker related
sessions were
recorded between
April 1973 and May
1974 in Studio 3
of WKCR-FM, in Ferris Booth Hall at
Columbia University, 115th Street &
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Broadway, Manhattan, New York.
Tom and I never knew what was going
to happen at one of Charles’ sessions.
Electric guitars, acoustic guitars. It could
be a band with six musicians wailing
away, or a solo piano and vocal. A full
drum set (packed inside of a bass drum
and transported by subway)
or just a snare
that sounded
like a full percussion set up.
Whatever the
scene, we’d
quickly set
up the small
room (maybe
15x25’) using borrowed,
quality microphones from
fellow student Mark Seiden, and hit it.
The studio had recently been rebuilt with
student labor and meager University
funding, with the electronics being
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

overseen by engineers Andy Setos,
Chuck Weger, and Don Zimmerman.
The studio was pretty rudimentary, with
adjustable fiberglass panels (I’m still
washing out the fibers from my jeans),
two track, stereo Scully decks, and a six
input board with only left-center-right
track selection, supplemented with a
portable Shure
mixer. There
were no equaliztion adjustments.
Leakage? Sure!
We depended
on that leakage
to make it all
sound like the
Blues.
-Fred Seibert,
October 2016
Ferris Booth Hall, home
of WKCR-FM, 1973-74
115th Street & Broadway,
Columbia University,
New York City
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1st edition: Winter 1974
Front cover
Oblivion Records, Vinyl LP
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Illustration & design: Frank Olinsky
Logo: Lisa Lenovitz Eaton

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1st edition: Winter 1974
Back liner and record labels
Vinyl LP
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Layout: Fred Seibert
Typesetting: Columbia University Spectator
Printing & Pressing: Wakefield Manufacturing,
Phoenix, Arizona
Oblivion Records 13

1st edition: Winter 1974
Inner sleeve
Oblivion Records, Vinyl LP
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Full lyric transcriptions on
page 23 of this booklet

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The original liner notes, 1st edition, Spring 1973

New York City blues has been one of the
Big Apple’s best kept secrets for the past
decade and a half. While many
local bluesmen have remained “active”
at house parties with an occasional gig
at a small club, many others, veterans of
a by-gone R&B era, have pawned their
instruments and abandoned hopes of
continuing a career that long ago
abandoned them. In short the New
York City blues scene has been so far
underground that even to the avid
aficionado it has remained invisible.
One of the principal reasons for the
decline of much of New York’s music
scene has no doubt been the gradual
exodus of the industry from the East to
the West coast. In the case of the blues,
however, there are a few other less
obvious but crucial factors. On one
level, blues, which used to have
massive appeal to black audiences, has
been replaced in the popular genre by
contemporary soul music. On another
level, New York is indisputably the
center of modern jazz, with much of a
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

potential blues audience absorbed in
listening to newer black music. And so
while pop audiences stand on mile-long
lines outside the Apollo, and the musical
“intelligentsia” flock to the city’s jazz
clubs, blues has become the
forgotten fore bearer of the idiom.
Combine all this with the fact that public
taste is dictated to a large extent by
music entrepreneurs, who see little merit
in booking anything besides the big draw
rock groups and you’ve got some idea of
New York.
(There are exceptions, of course.)
You might say “Blues from The Apple”
has been fifteen years in the making. It
is the first album featuring New York
City’s own urban blues artists issued in
that length of time. While the recording
sessions were a year long study in
frustration for all involved, this album
more importantly settles for the artists
more than a decade of the proverbial
dead ends and rip-offs prevalent in the
New York scene. It hopefully will bring
Charles Walker and members of the band
part of their deserved recognition.
Oblivion Records 15

Charles Walker, 51 years of age, was
born and raised in Macon, Georgia. He
began his professional music career
when he moved from Newark, New Jersey to New York. During the late fifties,
Charles became one of the city’s best
known blues musicians. Those were the
days when you could walk into a club in
Harlem and expect to hear a blues band
fronted by Charles or Tarheel Slim or
Hal Paige or Buster Brown or maybe
even Wilbert Harrison if you went on
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

the right night. You could go into Bobby Robinson’s Record Shack on 125th
Street and expect to come out with the
latest blues releases on labels like Fury,
Fire, Vest, Holiday, Atlas or a score of
others. Charles can tell you, he recorded for them all back then. For a city that
was once bustling with blues, things sure
seemed to change overnight. Charles
weathered the “dry” period nicely however, and still kept trying to hold a band
together through all those years.
Oblivion Records 16

under his own name for the Cee Jay
label. Together Charles and Lee Roy wrote
and arranged much of the material on this
album, with Charles providing the impetus
for everything (including
Bluebird’s solo numbers).

One of the men who has played with
Charles fairly regularly since 1959 is
Lee Roy Little, a 48 year old Virginia
born and bred piano player and
composer. Everybody knows him as
“Bluebird” after his song of the same
title. The name stuck when both
Brownie McGhee and B.B. King picked
up on the tune. Beside his records with
Charles, Lee Roy has also recorded
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Oblivion Records 17

a name familiar to many people really
baffles all of us who know his musical
abilities. Listen to his forceful solo lead
work and beautiful phrasing on ‘Scratch
My Back’ as just one example.

All the other harp work on the album is
handled by Bill Dicey and Goody Hunt.
Dicey has been playing since 1950. He
met Charles in the late sixties and has
played with him in between gigs with
Louisiana Red and john Hammond.
He’s done local club dates with Johnny
Winter and Muddy Waters and just about
anybody else who comes to town in need
of a strong harp man. He currently fronts
his own group, and the fact that he is not
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Goody Hunt, the man with the big
smile and the star-studded tooth, is a
harp novice on the other hand. He’s
been playing only a short while under
the watchful eye of his crony,
Charles Walker.

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and he brought Charles along. Charles
in turn reverted to his roots with some
down home acoustic guitar work on
Larry’s Martin.

The credit for bringing Charles to our
attention in the first place must go to
Larry Johnson, New York’s
contribution to the country blues.
Although Larry is best known for his
fast, finger-picking guitar work (he
currently has solo albums on Blue Goose
and Biograph), here he backs Charles
with some nice, understated acoustic
harmonica on Decoration Day. The tune
was recorded quite spontaneously one
evening when Larry had come up to do
an interview for Honest Tom
Pomposello’s blues show on WKCR-FM
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Charles always had an eye for the
women and this has to be the first blues
LP where female sidemen (how’s that
for ambiguity: female sidemen) play a
major role. Foxy Ann Yancey is a
guitarist who has gigged with many
local bluesmen over the years. She
co-authored one of the albums
instrumentals, ‘It’s Changin’ Time’,
and she contributed to the sessions in
the early stages.

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Ola Mae Dixon runs a record store in
the Bronx, and plays drums on the side.
To say that her playing epitomizes the
term “backbeat” would be an
understatement.

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Also appearing on drums is
Bobby King. Originally from New
Orleans, Bobby has spent a good deal of
time n the road always looking for a gig.
He has previously recorded with Charles
and nowadays is associated with Larry
Johnson. The fact that he works with a
single instrument is as much a statement
of the financial plight of a musician who
makes his living from playing blues as
it is a tribute to a percussionist who can
create as much sound with a rigged snare
and brushes as many drummers do with
full paraphernalia.

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David Lee Reitman is a rock musician
and former DJ, who has also written a
number of articles on blues and rock for
various music publications. Known as
“Scarsdale Slim” to his friends and
enemies alike, David just happened to be
in the studio one night when we needed
a bass player.
Finally, there are the three men who
shared the bass playing.
Sonny Harden is a friend of Charles’
from the Bronx. His primary musical
interest lies in helping to promote his
son’s soul band. But he still finds time
to fill in for Charles when the situation
warrants.

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Honest Tom Pomposello was on hand
to produce the album and coordinate the
whole project. Tom was drafted into
service when a snafu arose at the final
session and we were left bassless, but he
is not inexperienced in these matters
having played and recorded with the late
Mississippi Fred McDowell.

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Perhaps Charles voiced the best
summation for this whole endeavor:
“All I know is that I want the world to
hear me now, ‘cause I’m deeper in the
blues now than I’ve ever been before.”
¿Comprende?
– Richard H. Pennington, Jr.
Produced by Honest Tom Pomposello
with Fred Seibert
Recorded at WKCR.FM.
Columbia University. NYC
Engineering: Fred Seibert
Rerecording: Kevin Behrman.
Echo Sound Studio. Levittown.NY
Editing. Fred Seibert and Tom
Pomposello

The producers would like to
acknowledge the special assistance of
Rob Witter, Mike Bifulco and Ms.
Josephine Walker who “made our
burden so much lighter and our future
so much brighter.”
Should this disk be unavailable at your
local superior record store, send $5.98:
OBLIVION RECORDS.incorporated
P.O. BOX X. ROSLYN HEIGHTS.
NY.11577
(P)1974, Oblivion Records, inc.
Printed in the USA

Charles Walker @ WKCR-FM, New York

Cover Design. Frank Olinsky
Graphics. The Oblivionettes
Photography: Christine Pomposello,
Tom Pomposello, Roy Langbord,
John Dunn and Fred Seibert
Photo processing. Dave Cicale
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Oblivion Records 22

Black Cat Bone
By Lee Roy Little
Well I believe to my soul
That my girl have got a black cat bone
Well I believe to my soul
That my girl have got a black cat bone
You know she treat me so mean
I can’t let the sweet woman alone

Lyrics
Blues from the Apple
Producer Tom Pomposello felt strongly
that blues lyrics were signal pieces of
African-Americans’ oral history. So, in
keeping with a tradition taking hold on
LP’s of the era , Oblivion included the
first ever blues lyric liner on
Blues from The Apple. –FS

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Don’t ya know she got me runnin’
‘round here
Well in this old lonesome room.
Don’t ya know she got me runnin’
‘round here
Well in this old lonesome room.
I believe I’m gonna lose my mind.
Well I just can’t keep from cryin’
Will you turn me loose me, baby, can’t
go nowhere
Wherever you go, you know that I’ll be
there
That’s why I believe to my soul
That my girl have got a black cat bone
You know she treat me so mean
I can’t let the sweet woman alone
She got a black cat bone
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(repeat)
She treat me so mean
I can’t let the sweet woman alone!
©1974 By Full Co., BMI

Gladly
By Charles Walker
Who’s gonna let you have your way
Do anything you say
Gladly, gladly for your love, sweet love
Gladly, child, gladly for your love
Gonna work hard each and every day
Bring home all my pay
Gladly, gladly for your love, sweet love
Gladly, child, gladly for your love
Now the snap of your fingertips
I’ll be at your command
Touch of your sweet lips, now
You’ll have me eating right out of your
hands
I’ll forever be true
Do anything you want me to
Gladly, gladly for your love, sweet love
Gladly, child, gladly for your love
©1974 By Full Co., BMI

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Decoration Day
By Sonny Boy Williamson
People I once had a sweet woman
Lord knows she was nice and kind to me
in most every way
People I once had a sweet woman
She was nice, kind, lord now in every
way
Now since that woman died and left me
I get the blues on every Decoration Day.
You know I was standing by my baby’s
bedside
These are the last words I heard my
woman say
You know I was standing by my baby’s
bedside
These are the last words I heard my
woman say
She said: Charles I want you to bring
sweet flowers
Bring them on every Decoration Day.
You know my heart kind of struck now
sorrow
Hate to see the Lord take my sweet baby
away
I said: Darling you know I’m gonna
Oblivion Records 24

remember you
On each and every Decoration Day
Now you people are all out having your
fun
Just like the flowers that blooms in May
Poor me I got to sit here grievin’ and
worried
Thinkin’ about that sad Decoration Day
©1964, Arc Music, BMI

I’m A Good Man But A Poor Man
By Cecil Gant and Lee Roy Little
Well I traveled from town to town
Seem like everybody, baby, want to
throw me down
Cause I’m a good man, poor man
Will you understand?
I go down to the train station
And I looked up on the wall
You know my money was too light
I couldn’t go nowhere at all.
Well the burden that I’m carryin’
You know is so heavy to me
It seem like there ain’t nobody in this
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

world that’s a help for me.
I’ll be all right baby, just give me a break
Good things come to those who wait
I’m a good man, but a poor man
Will you understand?
©1974 By Full Co., BMI

Juice Head Woman
By Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and
L. Zito
I got a juice head woman and she stay
drunk all the time
I got a juice head woman and she stay
drunk all the time
When she can’t get her liquour
Boy she almost lose her mind.
She drinks whiskey like it’s water
Gin just like it’s lemonade
She drinks whiskey like it’s water
Gin just like it’s lemonade
She makes me go to work kind of early
While she lays around in the shade.
I worry when she’s loud and rowdy
I worry when she’s nice and quiet
Oblivion Records 25

It’s gettin’ so doggone expensive
To keep up her whiskey diet.
I’ve taken her to the doctor and this is
what he said:
“There ain’t no cure for the woman,
Charles
She’s just a born juice head…”
I’ve got the blues - blue, blue as I can be
That woman and her liquor,
Gonna be the death of me.
©Pamco/LZMC, BMI

Bluebird’s Blues (Medley)
By Lee Roy Little
a. Bluebird
Well it’s love time and the sun is shining
bright
Well it’s love time and the sun is shining
bright
Bluebird won’t you sing for me
Bluebird you know you’re not treating
me right
Hey, hey Bluebird, hey Bluebird
Why don’t you sing to me
Every time you clap your wings
Leave me with pain and misery.
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

b. Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting
Poor Me
You make my eyes run over all the time
Seems like you’re happy when I’m out
of my mind.
You don’t love me but you won’t let me
be
Don’t you ever get tired of hurting poor
me.
You must think I look bad with a smile
‘Cause you haven’t let me wear one of
those little things
Within a long, long while.
Still I come running back, why this must
be
Don’t you ever get tired of hurting poor
me
c. Your Evil Thoughts
Your evil thoughts baby
Keep me worried all the time, all the
time
Your evil thoughts baby
Keep me worried all the time, all the
time
I believe your evil thoughts
Are goin’ to make me lose my worried
Oblivion Records 26

mind.
I walked the four corners
In this old lonesome town
Got me walkin’ these four corners
In this old lonesome town
I believe in my own tears, baby
I believe I’m goin’ to drown.
d. Hurry baby won’t you please come
home
I’m tired of being here all alone
Hurry baby, will you come on home
I’m gettin’ very tired of being here all
alone.
Catch the first thing headed this-a-way
I can’t hold out another day
Hurry baby, will you come on home
I’m gettin’ very tired of being here all
alone
You need no key
Don’t have no luck
You walk right on in
Don’t have to knowck
Hurry baby, hurry now baby
Baby please come on home.
©1974 By Full Co., BMI

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Fast, Fast Women And
A Slow Race Horse
By Charles Walker and Sonny Moore
Take a little while ago I was doing all
right
Workin’ hard, savin’ my money
Gettin’ my rest at night.
Let me tell you what (now) happened
Jack:
Fast woman took me to the race horse
track
Bet my money like it wasn’t no good
Finally broke me like they said she
would
Fast, fast women and a slow race horse
Got me in the shape I’m in Lord, Lord
Ain’t got a dime about to lose my mind
Don’t even have no friends
Let me tell you the natural facts:
Women and the horses made me blow all
my cash!
Ridin’ around in my big Cadillac
Finance man come and take it back
Takin’ those chicks out to wine and dine
Didn’t make my pay note on due time
Oblivion Records 27

Let me tell you a natural fact:
Women and horses made me blow my
Cadillac!
Fast, fast women and a slow race horse
Got me in the shape I’m in Lord, Lord
Ain’t got a dime about to lose my mind
Don’t even have no friends
Let me tell you the natural facts:
Women and horses made me blow all
my cash!
Fast, fast women and a slow race horse
Got me in the shape I’m in Lord, Lord
Takin’ those chicks out to wine and dine
Didn’t make my pay note on due time
Let me tell you a natural fact:
Women and horses made me blow my
Cadillac!
©1974 By Full Co., BMI

Meeting You
By Charles Walker
Way last winter, yes, the ground was
covered with snow
Way last winter, yes the ground was
covered with snow
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

The evil woman put me out now people
I didn’t have no place to go.
I didn’t have no money, my shoes was
kinda thin
I didn’t have no money, my shoes was
kinda thin
I didn’t even have a decent pair of
trousers
To go to Sunday School in.
I grabbed my hat now, I did not even
frown
I grabbed my hat now, I did not even
frown
Well there ain’t no one woman
Who can keep a good woman down
Well I finally got a lucky break now
baby
Everything begin to come my way
Well I finally got a lucky break now
baby
Everything begin to come my way (since
I met you!)
I’ll get my pockets back full of money
Be able to change clothes each and every
day!
©1974 By Full Co., BMI
Oblivion Records 28

player. His name was Freeman Walker,
but everyone called him ‘Boweavil.’
“Guitar was inherited to me through my
father. But my musical career started
back in 1955. At that time I was playing
in a club called Ben 29 in Newark, New
Jersey. We had a three-piece band – a
piano man by the name of Larry, a tub
bass player caller Cooper, and myself. I
had made a foot-clapper which played
along with guitar and singing. We played
there three nights a week: Friday,
Saturday, and Sunday. I really enjoyed
playing and the people enjoyed the
music.”

Blues from the Big Apple
By Honest Tom Pomposello
Living Blues Magazine #18
Chicago, Illinois
Autumn 1974

“My name is Charles Walker. I am a 52
year old; I was born in Macon, Georgia
on July 26, 1922. My father was a blues
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

“One of the bartenders there had a lady
friend who lived in New York. He told
her about the live music they had where
he worked at. So when this lady came
over to the club, she brought another girl
friend. Her name was May McKay.
After we finished playing that night,
Miss McKay called me over to her table
and asked me if I ever recorded? So I
told her no. She told me that she
managed groups and that she knew all
Oblivion Records 29

the right people in New York and she
could make me a star. She told me that I
was wasting my talent playing and
signing in these honky-tonk joints in
Newark.
“So I talked it over with the piano
player, and the tub player. They said
they didn’t want no part of leaving their
old ladies in Newark and moving over
to New York. I told her what they said,
and she said – ‘So he hell with them.
Backup men are a dime a dozen. I will
get you a band to accompany you. I am
interested in you and your guitar, and
your voice.’ I told her OK, I would take
a chance at it. And that as how I come
to say goodbye to Newark, New Jersey,
New York City here I come.
“When I came to New York, she got me
a room in this hotel 125th and 5th
Avenue. And she got me an audition
at the Baby Grand Club, also on 125th
Street. They had a house band there and
they gave me some nice backup. So I got
a booking at the Baby Grand, but as my
luck would have it I never did make the
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

booking, because when I went back to
Newark to tell my friends the good news
and, I wound up getting my jaw broken.
(See, I was quite a ladies man in them
days.) But I did recover quickly enough
and when I finally got myself together to
play again, I cut my first record, Driving
Home Part I & II.
Charles Walker made his way recording
debut for New York based Holiday
label, which was owned and operated by
Danny Robinson, brother and
“competitor” of Fire/Fury Records
owner Bobby Robinson. The record,
released in the late 1956, did fairly well
for the times. Robinson had a managed
to secure airplay and distribution for his
records partly because he was handling
a hot R&B group called the Love Notes,
who had hit it, big with a tune called
“United.”
“Driving Home” was a two-part
instrumental, not unlike Bill Doggett’s
then popular “Honky-Tonk.” The label
credit featured Maurice Simon on sax.
The late DJ Jack Walter (no relation to
Oblivion Records 30

Charles) of WLIB used the record of the
in-theme for his morning show, “Wake
Up New York” which was broadcast live
from the Palm Café on 125th Street.
Although Charles was not to record

Robinson’s studio was a tight one. The
resulting record, issued on the Vest label
is perhaps Charles best known. “It Ain’t
Right”* couples with the instrumental
Charles “Walker Slop”* (featuring the
harmonica of B. Brown).

Charles Walker & Bobby Robinson, courtesy Tom Pomposello, Honest Archives

again for another 3 years, he was working regularly and manages to put together a top-notch band “so I could sound
as good live as I did on my records.” In
1959 the band he brought into Danny
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

The band also included a young
incredibly gifted pianist-composer
named Lee Roy Little whom everyone
affectionately called “Bluebird” in
reference to his song of the same title.

Oblivion Records 31

B. Brown, the featured harmonica man
is not to be confused with Buster Brown
of Fire Records and Fannie Mae fame.
It seems though that B. Brown (no one
seems to recall his real name) adopted
the pseudonym to cash in on the reputation and popularity of Buster Brown.
And actually, their harp styles were not
dissimilar. B even did a record called
Fannie Mae is Back!) Drummer Danny Q. Jones rounded out the group with
Charles handling the guitar and most of
the vocals.
But Charles also so the band in a
different perspective: “You know, I
always wanted to have an all-star blue
band. Because Bluebird was a very good
vocalist as well as piano player. And B.
Brown and Danny Q could also hold
their own on vocals.”
In theory, this might have been an ideal
arrangement, but in practice… “Everything was going fine,” recalls Charles
“until each one made a record of their
own. Then each one went out on their
own and I was left alone.” But Charles is
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

not the one to begrudge a fellow
musician anything. And when Lee Roy
and B. Brown wanted to cut records under their own names, Charles was more
than willing to keep the band together for their sessions. In 1960 he even
wrote the ‘A’ side of Brown’s first record, “Hard Workin’ Man”*, which was
backed with “My Baby Left Me.”* The
Vest label credited “B Brown and his
Rockin’ McVouts.” B. Brown recorded
at least two other records and then left
New York for the South. Charles
believes he is still active musically in
Tennessee.
Lee Roy Little on the other hand cut two
records (and two only, as far as I know)
for the Cee Jay label in NY (no
connection with Carl Jones’s Chicago
C.J. label). Charles played the guitar
again on Lee’s first record, and both
sides, were magnificent examples of
bluesy New York R&B at the best: “I’m
a Good Man But A Poor Man”* and
“Your Evil Thoughts”* (The second record, without Charles, was “Hurry Baby,
Please Come Home”* and “Let Me Go
Oblivion Records 32

Home Whiskey”).
Throughout this time Charles managed
to stay busy and in 1963 he was again
invited to record under his own name.
Tommy Robinson (name coincidence
again, since the man is no relation to
Bobby or Danny Robinson) operated the
Atlas/Angleton labels. He took Charles
to a studio in the old CBS Building.
Walker had put a new band together
for the occasion, as he recalls: “I had
a young boy named Bubba on piano, a
drummer we called Peanuts, and Henry
Copeland on bass.” The session yielded
on record, Nervous Wreck/Down Heated Blues, but the band was a short-lived
one. Nonetheless the record did well
enough that the producer called Charles
in again later that year. Studio Musicians
were utilizes and the record issued was
“Wrong Kind of Woman,” backed with
“Louise.”
Around this time Walker also had a
booking as the featured attraction out
on Long Island in Huntington Station at
the Colonial House. Located just South
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

of the train station, the club was quiet
a popular nightspot. Charles says, “My
record was on the juke box, and people
would wait for me to perform it on stage,
live. They had a house band that backed
me up but they could not play my song
good enough. They didn’t sound nothing
like my record.” No matter, for the
Colonial House soon burned down. This
combined with other musical frustrations, caused Charles to re-evaluate his
life in music. “I decided I would give up
show business because I was not getting
the sound I wanted and I wasn’t making no progress. It seemed like people
were losing interested in the blues and I
couldn’t even keep a band together. So
I sized up my life. I felt I didn’t do too
bad. When came to N.Y. I didn’t have
nothing. But now I had a wife, an account and a new car, so I decided to
retire from music.”
But 1968, the day after Christmas,
Teresa Harrison, the woman Charles
was so attached to died. They had met
in N.Y. in ’59, shortly after he had come
to live in the city. They were married 3
Oblivion Records 33

years later and their lives was evidently
quiet a happy one. Charles found it hard
to carry on without her. “By 1970 I had
lost home, money and everything,
grieving over the loss of my wife. So I
sold my furniture and decided to leave
New York. And that’s when Mr.
Bobby Robinson came into the picture
with me.”
“Bobby told me he wanted to record me
again. I told him it didn’t make no sense
and that it wasn’t worth it. So he said
to me, ‘Charles, you are ready to record
now more than ever. People bought all
those records you did before because
you had style and you were a new face.
But now you’re just like an old whiskey that’s been aged and now people
who tasted you before are ready to
taste again, and they’ll find how you’ve
improved with age like that whiskey.
Charles, I am going to be honest with
you. Elmore James was my blues player
when he was alive. But now he’s dead
and gone, and I feel you are qualified to
be next, I am very willing to invest my
money in you, you see when you had
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

your wife, your home, and your new car,
show business was not something you
took serious. But now you have lost
everything and you’re really living with
the blues everyday.’”
In 1971 Bobby produced one extended
session with Charles and a band they
together assembled which included Lee
Roy Little on piano, Bobby King on
drums, and Larry Johnson along with a
bassist and a second guitarist. The proposed album never did materialize, but
Robinson did issue a single on his reactivated Fury Label “Rock Me Mama,”
and a new version of Charles original hit
“You Know It Ain’t Right.” But Robinson, widely known for his guile as a
producer/promo man, failed to do justice to his reputation. The record went
virtually unnoticed except in his Harlem
record shop and a few isolated Southern
towns, where Bobby still has contracts
“from the old days.” Robinson’s concept of “marketing a blues record” had
not changed: he felt that he should sell
almost exclusively to a black audience.
While to a small extent Bobby probably
Oblivion Records 34

realizes that much of today’s blues audience is young and white, he made no
attempt to send review copies to Living
Blues or Blues Unlimited for instance,
nor to underground and college FM
radio stations which regularly feature
blues shows; but this is another matter.
Charles got another chance to record
later that year for the P&P Label.
Producer Peter Brown desire was to
recreate a lot of music in the 50’s and
update it for the 70’s. Charles assembled
a band once again that featured drummer
Bobby King, guitarist Bob Malenky and
an astonishingly fine harp man, Bill
Dicey, whom Charles had met playing in
a bar and who had worked singles resulted from those sessions. Charles has a
penchant for Muddy Waters-Little
Walter material, and he cut a fine version of “Forty Days and Forty Nights”
backed with “My Babe.” The other
record was credited to Bill Dicey, since
he was featured up front on both sides,
instrumentally on “Juke” and vocally on
“Hootchie Kootchie Man.” Both Charles
and Bill were more than displeased with
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

this one. “They tried to make me sound
like a 60-year old black man,” commented Bill. “They did all this weird rechanneling to my voice…. I did all I could
to even prevent them from issuing the
damn thing.” Both records,
however, were “pick hits” in a
December ’71 issue of Record World
Magazine. But this didn’t help either the
records or the scene almost as sudden
as he had originally appeared mysterious Peter Brown who vanished from the
scene almost as suddenly as he had
originally appeared.
Last year while talking with Larry
Johnson, I asked him what had ever
happened to all the old blues bands that
used to abound in New York City. Larry
admitted that New York blues had really
gone underground, but that a lot of
older bluesmen still got together from
time to time and that “one man in
particular, Charles Walker, he’s still
tryin’ to hold a band together and he
sometimes plays around town and in the
bars around Harlem.”

Oblivion Records 35

I met Charles soon after, got to know
and like him and had him up on my
radio show a couple of times.
Subsequently, we produced a couple of
recording sessions for radio with very
gratifying results.
Oblivion Records will be issuing
Blues From the Apple: The Charles
Walker New York City Blues Band this
fall. Strangely enough this will be the
first New York City urban blues band album in almost 15 years! Featured prominently along with Charles on the album
are Lee Roy Little and Bill Dicey as
well as many of Charles’s old (and new)
cronies. This is a record we’re all quite
enthused about, but no one so much as
Charles, who says it best: “All I know
is that I want the world to hear me now,
cause I’m deeper in the blues now than
I’ve ever been before.”

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

*Song titles marked with an * in this article have
been reissued by Flyright Records in England
and, in the cases of Charles Walker and Lee Roy
Little, royalties have been paid.

Charles Walker
Photograph by producer Fred Seibert
Polaroid Big Shot
WKCR-FM, Columbia University, NYC

Oblivion Records 36

A contact sheet of
session photographs
by engineer/producer
Fred Seibert
WKCR-FM,
Columbia University,
New York City, 1973
Charles Walker
Foxy Ann Yancey
Bill Dicey
Sonny Harden
Goody Hunt

Another contact sheet
of session photographs
by engineer/producer
Fred Seibert
WKCR-FM,
Columbia University,
New York City, 1973

Josephine Walker
Sonny Harden
Tom Pomposello
Ola Mae Dixon
Charles Walker
Bill Dicey
Foxy Ann Yancey

Charles Walker
Photograph by
producer
Fred Seibert
Polaroid Big Shot
WKCR-FM,
Columbia University,
New York City 1973-74
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Oblivion Records 39

Lee Roy Little and
Charles Walker (top)
& Charles
with Bill Dicey
Photograph by
producer
Fred Seibert
Polaroid Big Shot
WKCR-FM,
Columbia University,
New York City, 1973
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Oblivion Records 40

Lee Roy Little
Photographs by producer Fred Seibert with a Polaroid Big Shot
WKCR-FM, Columbia University, New York City
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Oblivion Records 41

Foxy Ann Yancey
Photograph by Roy Langbord,WKCR-FM
Columbia University, New York City
1973

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Oblivion Records 42

Engineer/producer Fred Seibert (left) and producer/bassist Tom Pomposello
at sessions for Blues from the Apple, 1974.
Photographs by Roy Langbord using a Polaroid Big Shot,
WKCR-FM, Columbia University, New York City.

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Oblivion Records 43

Frank Olinsky’s
photostat of his
Blues from
the Apple
front cover
illustration.
1974

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Oblivion Records 44

Oblivion Records logo
explorations (and detail)
from the sketchbook of
Lisa Lenovitz Eaton
1972

OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Oblivion Records 45

Oblivion Records Discography
January 2015
Vintage
Cover

2015
Cover

Mississippi Fred McDowell
Live in New York
Original LP release 1972
Oblivion Records OD-1
Johnny Woods
Mississippi Harmonica
Original single release 1972
Oblivion Records O#2
Marc Copland • John Abercrombie
• Clint Houston • Jeff Williams
Friends
Original LP release 1973
Oblivion Records OD-3
Charles Walker &
The New York City Blues Band
Blues from the Apple
Original LP release 1974
Oblivion Records OD-4
Joe Lee Wilson
Livin’ High Off Nickels & Dimes
Original LP release 1974
Oblivion Records OD-5
Honest Tom Pomposello
Original LP release 1975
Oblivion Records OD-6
OD-4 Blues from the Apple

Oblivion Records 46

Oblivion Records
Box Set
Complete 1972-1975

2015 album covers
designed by
Frank Olinsky
www.frankolinsky.com

Oblivion Records
1972-1975
www.oblivionrecords.tumblr.com
Founded by
Fred Seibert, Tom Pomposello
& Dick Pennington
Oblivion Records logo designed by
Lisa Lenovitz Eaton