Charles Henry Faurot passed away August 25, 2013. Charlie was best known in music circles for his classic recordings of what is now known as the Round Peak style of old-time music.
Charlie was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, teacher, and coach. At the time of his retirement he was a Managing Director of the American Stock Exchange.
In late 1950s, Charlie started recording banjo lessons from Yale classmate John Cohen. That led to more than 50 years of recording older musicians primarily from Southwest Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas.
His field recordings of Wade Ward, Kyle Creed, Fred Cockerham, and George Stoneman made up the first record devoted to clawhammer banjo. Two more volumes of clawhammer banjo followed. His recordings of George Pegram made up the first LP issued by Rounder Records. Charlie’s recordings (some made with Richard Nevins) introduced many of us to the Camp Creek Boys, Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, and Oscar Jenkins, and have become part of the canon of the music of that area. Additionally, Charlie recorded music by E. C. Ball, Lena Hughes, Earl Blair, Lewis Thomasson, Red Allen, Ted Lundy, and Kenny Baker.
A chance meeting with Texas fiddler Bartow Riley at the Union Grove Fiddler’s Convention led Charlie to record not only Bartow but many of the Solomon and Thomasson families of Texas contest fiddlers, as well as some small Texas contests in their entirety. Once retired, Charlie fulfilled his promise to the Solomon family to issue some of their recordings. Thus began Old Blue Records. Old Blue allowed him to issue recordings of old friends like the Solomons as well as new friends like the New North Carolina Ramblers, Kirk Sutphin and Riley Baugus, and The Stage Hogs. It also allowed him to work with his sons, both banjo players, on the recording/production end of the music he loved.
At the time of his death, Charlie was finishing up a four-CD retrospective for County Records, including many of his classic recordings for that label as well as a number of previously unissued recordings.
Charlie Faurot’s foresight to preserve this music, and his generosity and passion to share it, have had a major influence on the old-time music revival.