Bobby Charles

Bobby Charles

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Your first reaction might be to ask Bobby Who?

If it is, Hughesy’s response would be to mention a few song titles. See You Later Alligator, Walking To New Orleans, But I Do and, especially, Before I Grow Too Old.

71-year-old Bobby Charles (born Robert Charles Guidry) passed away in mid-January 2010 after collapsing at his home in Abbeville, down in the heart of the Louisiana Cajun country.

Apart from his writing credits and an appearance at The Band's farewell Last Waltz that either wasn't filmed or didn't make the cut for the movie, Charles spent most of his life away from the spotlight, which was the way he liked it. 

Who could blame him? A simple life, enough money to get by and a regular lunch at a seafood eatery where the waitress knows you well enough to be mixing your favourite cocktail while you park the car. 

Sounds good to me.

A scheduled comeback at the 2007 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, was cancelled due to health issues. Dr. John, Marcia Ball, Sonny Landreth and other supporters performed his songs in his absence.

A quick glance over the man's career suggests that his unease in the spotlight is understandable. For a start, it's not as if the man set out on a conscious path to become a star. 

Consider the following scenario. If some Hollywood mogul turned it into a movie, you’d probably have half the world’s  film critics dismiss the plot line as highly unlikely.

Louisiana music fans would just say, Yeah, Bobby Charles!


B© Ian Hughes 2012