CHARLIE JONES BIO
Charlie Jones, born in Gadsden County Florida (the northern end), one of 6 children born to Edward and Annie Mae Jones. Charlie's father notice that he had an unbelieveable love for music at an early age, and he encouraged it because he sang and played the guitar himself. At the age of 7, Charlie, his older brother and 4 cousins started a gospel group, and performed in their Church on most Sunday's and on special ocasions. Charlie was with this group until the age of 12. Upon turning age 12, he left the young group to join an adult group from Quincy, Florida. Charlie's father bought him a guitar at age 10, and by age 12 he was good enough to play and sing with adults. Charlie, his brother and 4 sisters had to be in Church every Sunday, sometimes most of the day. Their father were a Baptist Minister, and he demanded that the whole family be in church, unless you were ill.
The move to an adult group came about when a group called the Gadsden Harmonizers visited Charlie's Church to perform. Charlie, his brother and cousins also performed. The group and its manager was very impressed with Charlie's talent, and the manager asked his father if he would allow Charlie to perform with them on weekends. It took about 3 weeks, and his father getting to know the manager of the group, before his father finally agreed. Charlie performed with this group from age 12, to age 15.
Around the age of 5, Charlie's father bought a combination (now called a stereo), and bought only gospel music, which were on the large heavy 78 records of that time. These records included the 5 Blind Boys of Mississippi; the 5 Blind Boys of Alabama; the Dixie Hummingbirds of Philadelphia; the Chosen Gospel Singers; the prilgrim Travelers; The swan Slivertones; Swanee Quintet, of August Georgia; and several others. When Charlie heard these groups sing, he could not believe that any human beings could actually sing that well. This was the key, as to how Charlie became hooked on music. And later on as a teenager, when Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Joe Simon, James Carr, Sam & Dave, and others soul stars came alone, after hearing those guys, Charlie was hooked on music forever. Today Charlie's father is gone, however, that same combination and those old 78 records are still there. Charlie still remember the words to most of those first songs he heard as a 5 year old.
Charlie grew up on a farm, which his father bought the 1950's. There were very few trips to the grocery store, because his family raised at lease 95% of their food. However, every wednesday, a rolling store (food store on wheels), came out to the county and always stopped at their home. This rolling store had almost everything you could purchase in any grocery store at that time. Charlie had no desire whatsoever, to work on a farm, although his father own it. He did everything he could to avoid being in the hot sun, and most of the time it worked.
Shortly after turning 15, Charlie joined a more popular adult group from Chattahoochee, Florida. This group expanded Charlie's travel's to Georgia, Florida,and Alabama. He remained with this group until he turn 18. At age 18, Charlie moved a little further north to Winston Salem, North Carolina, to live with a sister, and further pursue his music. Approximately 2 weeks after arriving in Winston Salem, his sister happened to hear a gospel group rehearsing in an apartment across from where they lived. After telling Charlie, he went over and bragged on his musical abilities, and these guys took him to another location and additioned him that same night. Needless to say he got the job. This group was called the Mighty Wonders. This group took Charlie to more States and Cities than the previous two Florida groups together. He travel to cities in Ohio, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama and other cities. Charlie remained with this group from 1965 to 1972.
In 1972, Charlie started his own group in Wiston Salem, where he had clearly made a name for himself with the other group (The Mighty Wonders). Charlie named his 6 man group the Gospel Stylistics, which became famous for their deep sweet harmonies, which all competing groups respected. Charlie left his group for a short time in 1974, when he recieved a phone call from the world famous Gospel Keynotes, from Tyler Texas. Mr. willie Johnson, manager of the Gospel Keynotes called Charlie from Jackson, Mississippi, where they had performed the previous night. Mr. Johnson asked Charlie if he would come out on the road with them for a few months, and Charlie agreed. mr. Johnson flew Charlie to Jackson, Mississippi. His first and only rehearsal was in a Jackson hotel room, and Charlie's first show was the very next night in Chicago. After the show in Chicago, Charlie had the opportunity to meet two of the original Soul Stirrers, members of the group that the late great Sam Cooke wrote for, and performed with several years before moving to Soul and Rhythm & Blues. Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Kansas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia are among the States that Charlie performed in, while with the Gospel Keynotes from Texas.
Additionally, there were other very famous acts on the tour with the Gpspel Keynotes. Slim and the Supreme Angeles, the Gerald Sisters of South Carolina, Gloria Spencer ( who weighted in at 750 pounds), and the famous Clarence Fountain of the 5 Blind boys of Alabama. You know, the same Clarence Fountain that was interviewed by Dan Rather on 60 minutes about 2 years ago. Charlie also picked up some extra cash by playing bass guitar for Clarence Fountain, and Gloria Spencer while on the tour.
After approximately 4 months on the road with the Gospel Keynotes, Charlie return home to Winston Salem to be with his group, the Gospel Stylistics. However, he only remained for a short time. In late 1974, Charlie decided it was time to move on, and he changed to Soul and Rhythm & Blues. With the financial backing of a local Attorney by the name of R. Lewis Ray, of Winston Salem, Charlie recorded his first soul album in late 1974 in Taylorsville, North Carolina. In pursuing his soul music career, Charlie had short stays in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, before moving to South Carolina in 1985. During his career Charlie also became a very good song writer. In 1991, he wrote the second biggest hit of Superstar Johnnie Taylor's music career, called Crazy Over You. This is also the first song, and the title song on Charlie's New CD. Theodis Ealey, Chick Willis, and many other blues greats also recorded many of Charlie songs.
In the past 3 years, Charlie has shared the same stage with music legends Clarence Carter, Lenny Williams, Denise LaSalle, Roy C. (Hammond), and the late great Little Milton Campbell. Charlie has also been approached by large companies, however, he felt that the deal(s) offered was not in his best interest. Charlie has produced more that 20 full CD's on himself, and other male and female artist. One of Charlie's most proud musical accomplishments, is that the music that he wrote, recorded and performed in the late 1960's and early 70's with the two North Carolina groups, can now be found in the music section of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.