Charlie Poole - Aftermath


In addition to being a talented musician, Poole was a fast living and hard drinking man. He packed several lifetimes of hard and fast living into his 39 years. Textile mill worker, semi-pro ballplayer, and hell-raiser supreme, Poole won his place among the giants of American roots music with his pathfinding work on the banjo, and for heading the innovative North Carolina Ramblers. The original Ramblers played around Spray and Leaksville, North Carolina beginning in 1917. In 1925, the recordings they made for Columbia allowed them to escape life in the textile mills.

Poole's life ended after a 13-week drinking bender. He had been invited to Hollywood to play background music for a film. According to some reports, he was disheartened by the slump in record sales due to the Depression. Poole never made it to Hollywood. He died of a heart attack in May 1931.

The ultimate cause of Poole's death is unknown. He suffered heart failure after excessive drinking. After his last bout with drinking, Poole was examined by a local doctor in Eden, who administered an injection of some kind -possibly to bring him down from the alcohol. Poole died after the injection on the table, and there is speculation that the injection may have been a factor in his death.

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