"Bits and Pieces of a Legend's Life"
Tapio's CHARLIE FEATHERS DISCOGRAPHY
Remembering Charlie Feathers
Charlie Speaks in 1979
More In-Depth Info on Charlie on Phil & Shaun's page
Name: Charles Arthur Feathers
Born: June 12, 1932
Mississippi born Charlie Feathers was signed to the
Sun label in 1954. Although Charlie's recordings
for Sun were more country than rockabilly, he
formed an association with Presley which probably
influenced Charlie to record more rockers and
Elvis to record his "I Forgot To Remember To
Forget". Charlie teamed up with Jerry Huffman and
Jody Chastain to record one record for the Meteor
label and reportedly one each on the Lone Star and
Duane labels. In 1956 Charlie Feathers and his
musical Warries signed with King where they
recorded and released eight sides. Charlie has
continued to perform and release records
sporadically on small labels. In 1979
Charlie issued two LP's on his own label
"Feathers Records". If you really like the
pure original rockabilly sound, make sure
his albums are part of your collection.
Charlie Feathers & His Musical Warriors
Although rockabilly pioneer Charlie Feathers never achieved commercial
success, he was present at the creation of the form. Feathers himself hints
that a mysterious, undisclosed "conspiracy" denied him maintstream fame;
today he is a cult legend., living in Memphis in a little house with
a white picket fence. Charlie loves to sit on his front porch, chewing and
Raised on a farm, Feathers quit school after the third grade, learned
guitar from a black sharecropper, and worked on oil pipelines in Illinois
and Texas as a teen. Moving to Memphis at 18, he contracted spinal meningitis
and spent months bedridden, listening to the radio. Upon recuperating
he concentrated on music. Feathers later claimed that he spent a great deal
of time in the mid-Fifties at Sam Phillips' Sun studios, arranging some of
Elvis Presley's early material. Though most of Feathers'
assertions have been unsubstantiated, he did co-write Presley's "I Forgot to
Remember to Forget" (#1 C&W, 1955). That year, his own debut single on Flip,
"I've Been Deceived," showed the influence of Hank
Williams, and from then until 1959, he recorded for Sun and smaller
labels (King, Kay, and Walmay among them). Such singles as "Tongue-Tied Jill"
and "Get With It" did little on the charts, but Feathers
persevered, playing local roadhouses until gaining, in 1977, a gig at
London's Rainbow Theatre that drew raves from rockabilly revivalists.
In the late Seventies, Feathers got the financial backing to start his
own short-lived record label, Feathers, upon which he released a couple of
albums and several singles. Frequently comic in tone his
work was often straightforwardly country, but with 1991's "Charlie Feathers"
(his only major label release) and the critical praise it provoked, it seemed
apparent that Feathers will be remembered essentially as a great, early, if
not widely known, rocker.
There is a excellent display on Charlie's memorbilia at the Memphis
Music Museum on 2nd St., downtown Memphis.
The joke around town in the Memphis recording industry was that Meteor
recorded Sun rejects. However, in 1952,
Elmore James and Rufus Thomas cut some legendary recordings at 1794
Chelsea Avenue in Memphis, just down the
street from Plastic Products, who pressed and mastered Rockabilly
records for Meteor, Sun, and others. In 1956 the
likes of Charlie Feathers and Malcolm Yelvington and others were singing
under the sign that read "The Supreme
Achievement in High Fidelity Recording." Unbelievably, the structure
still stands today in a nasty part of town.
Rockabilly veteran Charlie Feathers sat at a breakfast joint
called The Kettle. It' was a hot morning, and Feathers is chewing tobacco
and spitting into a styrofoam coffee cup. He's also detailing the world as
he sees it. "I never let a band start my songs off" he says. "I
only like guitar. I start it myself. If they couldn't catch on and
play, then they just have to drop out."
Feathers had fixed ideas about things, especially those that pertain to
rockabilly and his involvement in it.
© Rockabilly Hall of Fame ¨