Charlie Spand

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Charlie Spand
Born(1893-05-08)May 8, 1893
Columbus, Mississippi, United States
DiedAfter 1958
GenresBlues, boogie-woogie
Occupation(s)Pianist, singer, songwriter
InstrumentsPiano, vocals
Years active1920s–1940s
LabelsParamount and Okeh

Charlie Spand (born May 8, 1893; died after 1958)[1] was an American blues and boogie-woogie pianist and singer, noted for his barrelhouse style. He was deemed one of the most influential piano players of the 1920s.[2] Little is known of his life outside of music, and his total recordings amount to only thirty-three tracks.[3]


There has been speculation about Spand's place of birth. Allmusic stated that some claim he was born in Elljay, Georgia,[4] and a song he wrote, "Alabama Blues", refers to his birth in that part of the country. Various blues historians have cited Spand's songs "Levee Camp Man" and "Mississippi Blues" as evidence of connections there.[3] According to the researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc, he was born in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1893.[1]

Spand was one of the boogie-woogie pianists, including William Ezell[5] and others, who performed on Brady Street and Hastings Street in Detroit, Michigan, in the 1920s. In 1929, Spand relocated to Chicago, Illinois, where he met and began performing with Blind Blake.

Spand recorded twenty-five songs for Paramount Records between June 1929 and September 1931. The tracks were recorded in Richmond, Indiana, Chicago, and Grafton, Wisconsin. The 1929 Richmond sessions recorded seven songs with 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".[4][6] Another such duet occurred on "Moanin' the Blues".[3]

After a gap in his recording career, in June 1940 Spand recorded what were to be his final eight tracks, for Okeh Records.[4] They were made in Chicago, when Spand was backed by Little Son Joe and Big Bill Broonzy. After these recordings were made, no further reference to Spand has been found.[3] The researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc state that the blues musician Little Brother Montgomery said in 1958 that Spand was still living in Chicago.[1]

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.[4]

Spand's track "Back to the Woods" has been recorded by Kokomo Arnold, Joan Crane and Rory Block. Josh White recorded Spand's "Good Gal."[7]


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. ^ a b c Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. p. 110. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  2. ^ "Dreaming the Blues: The Best of Charlie Spand". Archived from the original on 2010-11-29. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Ankeny, Jason. "Charlie Spand: Biography". Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Charlie Spand, Dreaming the Blues: The Best of Charlie Spand". Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  5. ^ Oliver, Paul (1997). The Story of the Blues (new ed.). Boston: Northeastern University Press. p. 89. ISBN 1-55553-354-X.
  6. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. p. 198. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
  7. ^ "Charlie Spand: Songs". Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  8. ^ "Charlie Spand: Discography". 2002-01-08. Retrieved 2014-01-26.

External links[edit]