Fiddler Charles O. Summer died on June 2, at the age of 85, in Buffalo, South Carolina. His father, Ollie Orestus Summer, was also a fiddler, and Charles took up the instrument as a child, first learning to play “In the Sweet Bye and Bye” when he was about seven years old. At nine years old, he performed on Spartanburg’s WSPA, accompanying Oklahoma musician Scottie the Drifter.
As a young man Summer served during WWII, and came home to a career refinishing wood floors in textile mills. He kept performing, and played many times on area TV and radio programs. In the ‘50s he played on the Tennessee Barn Dance, as well as with the Hired Hands on WINS in Columbia, and in the ‘70s had a daily radio gig with his band the Black Mountain Boys in Rock Hill.
Charles Summer was a 2005 recipient of South Carolina’s Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award.