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Arthur Charline - Burn That Candle (CD)€13,00
Regarded by many pundits as ’the forgotten woman of Rockabilly’, CHARLINE ARTHUR was very much ahead of her time.
A discovery of the formidable Colonel Tom Parker, a couple of years before he managed Elvis, she was by all contemporaneous accounts a controversial, memorable and hugely popular live performer.
She famously refused to play by the rules and often appeared onstage wearing pants, rather than the chintzy dresses worn by other female Country singers, and she sang sassy, suggestive songs (she was censored onstage at the Grand Ole Opry).
This compilation reissues the sixteen singles she cut between, 1950-1956 across five different record labels, virtually her entire recorded legacy.
It includes her regional hits ’Heartbreak Ahead’, ’He Fiddled While I Burned’, ’Waltzing’ and ’(I’m In Love With) Someone’s Used To Be’ alongside collectors’ items like ’Soft Hearted Gal’, ’Honey Bun’ and ’Burn That Candle’.
Arthur Charline - Burn That Candle (180 gram vinyl) (LP)€18,00
In the mid-Fifties, women country singers took their cue from Kitty Wells. They’d stand demurely on stage in Gingham, singing of unrequited love. Then came Charline Arthur who burst forth from a rowdier universe, a place where the boogie was woogied, diamonds were flashed, and men were picked up and cast off. She was one of the few women who could hold her own on-stage with Elvis and the rockabillies. Her unpredictable temperament earned her a somewhat controversial image within the industry, which in turn matched her brassy, larger-than-life vocal style. Charline herself was not overly modest in her self-assessment: Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee and Patsy Cline all, in some way, patterned their styles after me,” she said. ”I was a trend-setter. I was a blues singer, and I wanted to sing something different. I wanted to be an original. I was the first to break out of that Kitty Wells stereotype. I was shakin’ that thing on stage long before Elvis ever thought about it. I worked harder on stage than he ever worked.”
Born Charline Highsmith in Henrietta, Texas in September 1929, she was the second of 12 children, and when she was four, she moved with her family to Paris, Texas. By 1945, she was already singing locally on KPLT, Paris. Then a traveling medicine show came through town, and she left. In 1949, she was singing in small clubs and honky tonks, and an appearance in Dallas landed her an opportunity to record two songs for Bullet Records.
Charline was performing on KERB in Kermit, Texas when Colonel Tom Parker passed through and heard her singing on air. He brought her to the attention of the Aberbachs at Hill & Range Music, who secured the rights to her original songs and placed her with RCA. She and Elvis toured Texas together in 1955. ”I did a lot of shows with Elvis,” she said, ”and I came to love him dearly. He used to tell me, ’My mama buys all your records, and sticks ’em under my nose and makes me listen to ’em. She thinks you’re great.”
By the time her RCA contract expired in 1956, Charline was at odds with her label and Hill & Range, and with the music business in general. In 1965, she relocated to the west coast, and then, in 1978, retired to rural Idaho to live in a trailer on a modest $335 monthly disability pension. ”I’m kind of like the old fire truck that Minnie Pearl sometimes talks about. I’m always ready, but seldom called for,” she said forlornly.
Charline Arthur died in her sleep on November 27, 1987.
Arthur Charline - Welcome To The Club (CD)€18,00
”Upea julkaisu. Tiukkaa country-rock`n`rollia. Loistava naislaulaja.
The lady who wore the trousers! Charline leaped from amplifiers, sang lying down on-stage, and cavorted wildly. Her act was radically different from Kitty Wells and the other female country singers of the day. ”I was shakin’ that thing on-stage long before Elvis ever thought about it,” she once bragged. ”I was a blues singer. I wanted to sing something original.” And she did.
The best of Charline’s recording career from 1949 to 1957 is captured here. During that time, she recorded for Bullet, Imperial, Coin, and RCA Victor. There were no hits, but an awful lot of good music. When rock ’n’ roll came along, it wasn’t news to Charline-she had been shakin’ it up for years. She found great original country songs like He Fiddled While I Burned, Flash Your Diamonds, and Looking At The Moon And Wishing On A Star; she covered R&B classics like Burn That Candle, and she flat out rocked, as on Welcome To The Club.”