Hiding out from the law, songwriter Bobby Charles gets another shot at success in the music business
One would think being there at the start of rock and roll, writing three of its biggest hits would have set Cajun songwriter Bobby Charles on the road to success. Life and the cut-throat music business conspired to keep Charles from his royalties from the late 50s and early 60′s. By 1970 he has been busted for drugs and was looking for a safe place to hideout from the cops. As I dug deeper past the standard 50 word obituaries a different picture of Bobby Charles began to emerge.
In Woodstock 1972, life was good for musicians. Bob Dylan had been there since 1967. The Band and Dylan had jammed with The Basement Tapes sessions. Their joint creativity spawned Music from Big Pink and John Wesley Harding. Dylan skipped out of town for the big Woodstock Festival but he was still around.
Besides being a bucolic farming community, Woodstock was an NYC artists retreat complete with a serious drug culture brought including heroin.
Bobby Charles met and hung out with Paul Butterfield the renowned blues singer, harp player and leader of The Butterfield Blues Band. It was his band, sans Butterfield, who backed Dylan at the game-changing Bob Dylan 1965 Newport Folk Festival. The lead guitarist from Butterfield’s band Mike Bloomfield was the guy who made recent history when backed Bob Dylan on the folk rock classic Highway 61 Revisited.