Charlie Spand

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Charlie Spand
Origin United States
Genres Blues, boogie-woogie
Occupation(s) Pianist, singer, songwriter
Instruments Piano, vocals
Years active 1920s–1940s
Labels Paramount and Okeh

Charlie Spand was an American blues and boogie-woogie pianist and singer, noted for his barrelhouse style. Spand was deemed one of the most influential piano players of the 1920s.[1] Little is known of his life outside of music, and his total recordings comprise only thirty-three (33) tracks.[2]


There is speculation about his place of birth. Allmusic stated that some claim Spand arrived in Elljay, Georgia,[3] whilst his self-penned track, "Alabama Blues," had a reference to his birth in that part of the country. Various blues historians also cited Spand's songs, "Levee Camp Man" and "Mississippi Blues," as evidence of connections there.[2]

More certain is that Spand, along with others such as William Ezell,[4] was one of those boogie-woogie pianists who, in the 1920s, performed on Brady Street and Hastings Street in Detroit, Michigan. In 1929, Spand relocated to Chicago, Illinois, where he met and began performing alongside Blind Blake. Spand recorded twenty five songs for Paramount Records between June 1929 and September 1931. The tracks were variously recorded in Richmond, Indiana, Chicago, and Grafton, Wisconsin. From the 1929 Richmond recording sessions, were seven songs which had guitar accompaniment to Spand's piano playing and singing. Most of these were directly attributed to Blake. During Spand's most notable recording, he and Blake had a small conversation during the making of "Hastings Street."[3][5] Another such duet occurred on "Moanin' the Blues."[2]

After a gap in his recording career, in June 1940 Spand recorded what turned out to be his final eight tracks, this time for Okeh Records.[3] These were made in Chicago, when Spand was backed by Little Son Joe and Big Bill Broonzy. However, after these recordings were made, no further reference to Spand can be located.[2]

In 1992, Document Records issued The Complete Paramounts (1929-1931). Yazoo Records' Dreaming the Blues: The Best of Charlie Spand (2002) had enhanced sound quality, but without the chronological track order favored by Testament.[3]

Spand's track "Back to the Woods" has been recorded by Kokomo Arnold, Joan Crane and Rory Block, while Josh White recorded his "Good Gal."[6]


Selected compilation albums[edit]

Album title Record label Year of release
The Complete Paramounts (1929-1931) Document Records 1992
Dreaming the Blues: The Best of Charlie Spand Yazoo Records 2002


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dreaming The Blues: The Best of Charlie Spand". Retrieved October 25, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ankeny, Jason. "Charlie Spand". Allmusic. Retrieved October 25, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Dreaming the Blues: The Best of Charlie Spand". Allmusic. Retrieved October 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ Oliver, Paul (1997). The Story of the Blues (New ed.). Boston, Massachusetts: Northeastern University Press. p. 89. ISBN 1-55553-354-X. 
  5. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 198. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  6. ^ "Charlie Spand | Songs". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  7. ^ "Charlie Spand | Discography". AllMusic. 2002-01-08. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 

External links[edit]