Good Rockin’ Charles Photos

Chicago blues harmonica player Good Rockin’ Charles is by most standards an obscurity with just one marvelous self titled album that came out in 1975 on the Mr. Blues record label, and a few scattered anthology tracks. He worked both as a frontman and as an accompanist in the bands of Jimmy Rogers, Johnny Young, Big Boy Spires and others. Legend has it that Charles did not show up as scheduled for the Jimmy Rogers session that produced “Walking By Myself” and that led to Big Walter Horton to fill-in last minute and create one of Horton’s most riveting harmonica solos. Please enjoy this collection of photos honoring this elusive, unsung hero of blues harmonica! 

This photo by Dale Hoyt was used on the cover of Charles’ self titled 1975 album on the Mr. Blues label.

Good Rockin’ Charles, early 1970s at the Detroit Blues Festival, Photo by Diane Allman.

Good Rockin’ Charles and Illinois Slim. Photo courtesy Mojo Mark.

Louis Myers and Good Rockin’ Charles being filmed at the Eddie’s Place, Chicago for a BBC blues television special.

Good Rockin’ Charles, Chico Chism, Lester Davenport in 1979 as part of the American Blues Legends Tour. Photo courtesy The Banana Peel, Belgium.

Good Rockin’ Charles at The American Blues Legends Tour, Apeldoorn, Netherlands, 1979. Photo by Rien Wisse.

Good Rockin’ Charles and The Aces! Photo courtesy Living Blues Archives.

Good Rockin’ Charles and Left Handed Frank! Photo Andre Hobus Library, courtesy Marc De Jonghe.

Good Rockin’ Charles, Steve Cushing, Left Handed Frank at Elsewhere, Chicago. Photo Andre Hobus Library, courtesy Marc De Jonghe.

Steve Cushing and Good Rockin’ Charles.

Charles with Chico Chism at The American Blues Legends Tour, Apeldoorn, Netherlands, 1979. Photo Rien Wisse.

Good Rockin’ Charles 1979. Photo courtesy of Rien Wisse.

Good Rockin’ Charles and Billy Branch with Jimmy Johnson and Jimmy Walker in the background, 1979 at B.L.U.E.S. Photo by Rien Wisse.

Jimmy Johnson, Big Moose Walker, Good Rockin’ Charles, Jimmy Walker, Billy Branch at B.L.U.E.S. 1979 by Rien Wisse.

Good Rockin’ Charles, Photo by Gerrit Robs.

Good Rockin’ Charles, Floyd Jones, Mot Dutko, John Brim at Elsewhere in Chicago, mid 1970s.

A French harmonica player named Cody and Good Rockin’ Charles. Photo by Alan Harper.

Good Rockin’ Charles. Photo D. Shigley.

Jillina Arrigo Pope and Good Rockin’ Charles. Photo Andre Hobus.

Good Rockin’ Charles and Hayes Ware. Photo Eric Lyndahl courtesy Lex Jansen.

This photo of Good Rockin’ Charles from the American Blues Legends ’79 program by Jim O’Neal courtesy Lex Jansen.

Good Rockin’ Charles sings the blues!

This is the earliest photo we’ve found of Good Rockin’ Charles. This image from the late 1950s by photographer George Adins (courtesy of Stefen Wirz).

This Good Rockin’ Charles photo is by Jim O’Neal and appears on the back of the anthology Low Blows on the Rooster Blues label.

Drummer Ray Scott and Good Rockin’ Charles at a Steve Wisner produced session for the Mr. Blues label. Photo Jim O’Neal.

Promo photo for the American Blues Legends 1979 tour.

Good Rockin’ Charles and Billy Boy Arnold. That’s Twist Turner in the background. Photo by Andre Hobus courtesy Marc De Jonghe.

Good Rockin’ Charles and James Scott Jr. Photo by Andre Hobus.

Billy Boy Arnold and Good Rockin’ Charles. Photo by Andre Hobus.

Good Rockin’ Charles photo by Andre Hobus.

Good Rockin’ Charles had a unique way of holding  the microphone. Photo Andre Hobus courtesy Marc De Johnge.

Good Rockin’ Charles. Photo by Andre Hobus.

Chicago blues collides with ’70s pop culture! Pictured here is Good Rockin’ Charles with a Rod Stewart/If You Think I’m Sexy t-shirt. Photo Jim O’Neal.

A wonderful portrait of Good Rockin’ Charles taken by D. Shigley.

Good Rockin’ Charles and Big Leon Brooks, Chicago, IL. Photo Jim O’Neal.

Heathrow Airport, October 1, 1979 L-R: Eddie C. Campbell, Nolan Struck, Billy “The Kid” Emerson, Lester Davenport, Chico Chism, Good Rockin’ Charles. Photo courtesy Lex Jansen.

Clipping from BLOCK Magazine with photos from the American Blues Legends ’79 Apeldoorn performance: clockwise Good Rockin’ Charles, Eddie C. Campbell, Lester Davenport, Chico Chism. Photos by Rien Wisse and scan of magazine courtesy Bert van Oortmarseen.

Front cover of Good Rockin’ Charles album for the Mr. Blues label, produced by Steve Wisner.

Back cover of Good Rockin’ Charles album for the Mr. Blues label.

Photos of Good Rockin’ Charles from the back of his album. The woman Charles is pictured with is unnamed. Photographer Amy Van Singel.

Good Rockin’ Charles, Left Hand Frank, Eddie C. Campbell. Photo Andre & Lil Hobus.

Good Rockin’ Charles. Photo by Andre Hobus.

Good Rockin’ Charles with Nolan Struck at the Banana Peel, Ruiselede, Belgium, Oct. 12, 1979. Photo Pierre Degeneffe.

Good Rockin’ Charles at the Banana Peel, Ruiselede, Belgium, Oct. 12, 1979.  Photo Pierre Degeneffe.

Good Rockin’ Charles at the Banana Peel, Ruiselede, Belgium, Oct. 12, 1979. Photo Pierre Degeneffe.

The Killer Blues Headstone Project provided this beautiful memorial for Good Rockin’ Charles. Thank you Steve Salter.

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