Hyperbole wouldn't suit Charlie, all I can say is he had that rarest of gifts: an utterly unselfish decency, unwavering integrity and a deeply felt belief in the stories and passions told by people from all cultures through their music. Inspirational and enthusiastic, never a bad world to say about anybody, it is no exaggeration that he will be sorely missed and mourned in all corners of the wide world he was instrumental in making a better place. All we can do is ensure that his spirit endures through keeping his belief in the self-expression of everybody, and their right to be heard, alive.
I've just read all the beautiful posts about Charlie and how he's touched so many lives, mine too.
Once I'd come accross his BBC London show on Sat nights I was hooked and then heard he had different volunteers on the show to help answer the phones I wanted to be there. I contacted Nicky and began to help from time to time. I was expecting it to be a tense situation, as the show goes out live. Not at all, very relaxed atmosphere, very friendly team with Alan and Nicky and Philip taking pics. From there a connection began and I became a fan of his shows and his style. Always there at WOMAD to enjoy his live show from there. I recorded many a cassette copy of his BBC London shows and I still listen now and they are so good. He and Buffy have come down to a few gigs at St Ethelburga's and we would make a fuss of him but he was relaxed and honest about his opinion. After one gig he wrote on the site that St Ethelburga's had the shape of a giant cornflake box, how cool is that. I loved it. I can't really add more, except to say it's wasn't hard to have a warm feeling of effection and regard for Charlie. Truely a special soul.
Charlie always held on to his modesty and to his truths; open to all, open for all. I met him in ’69 and he’s featured in my life ever since, even though, this past twenty years, we’ve only met once or twice. But his presence has always been there; and on each and every trauma in my life, he’s been on the ‘phone as if we lived round the corner. That’s what someone who sees beyond the bullshit is like; and it’s so damned rare, it’s like a will o’the wisp, you see it, you are immensely grateful for it, but you can’t quite believe it. But you know so deeply it’s there.
Buffy, all our love; and the three kids and their kids, take care and be brave. He was such a good’un, but you know that better than any of us.
I was sitting in that open plan room in ’74. And you know what he was like. He’d got something, he said I had to hear it, even though it were years old, neither of us had known anything about it. He played Lights Out, the Jerry Byrne record. And I liked it so much he played it again. And he liked it so much he played it again. We played it the whole damned evening.
I’m going to play it now even though the message will ring with tears rather than joy.
So so sad to hear the news on the radio just now. I have followed Charlie as a broadcaster since his Honky Tonk days on Radio London. I'll miss his voice, his informed musical information and his showcasting of talented people from around the world. Many like me will really miss him.
What desperately sad news. Sincerest condolences to Buffy and the rest of Charlie's family. I hope all these reminiscences will be of some small comfort. So many lives have been enriched by Charlie's kindness, humility, impeccable taste and easy sense of humour. He really was one in a million. God bless you Charlie.
So saddened and shocked to hear that Charlie is gone. There are few people who inspired so much and who gave so much to so many people. Many years ago Charlie played music of mine on the radio for the first time, and I feel honored to have met him and to have had his support. He leaves behind a wonderful legacy, a wonderful daughter and a sensibility that touched many. Hard to say goodbye...Rhett Brewer
I think it says a lot about Charlie that four of the last eight posts are from people who heard the sad news , and came on here to post for the first time ever, feeling compelled to express what Charlie and the music he championed meant to them...
I have followed Charlie from the First Edition of The Sound of the City, through Honky Tonk, where I used to help on various Sundays, Oval, Radio London, GLR and I am staggered and so saddened to hear todays sad news. I don't think there will be another who can take his mantle, with that amazing knowledge of the history of music but also embracing everything new and international. I now live in LA, where Charlie's programs and knowledge are a lifeline. Sincere condolences to his family and friends. A sad day but lets celebrate his amazing achievement.
Charlie is someone so special - it's only slowly sinking in. I'm writing because I think that's the only way I can handle this.
Made such a difference - met him in about 1985 and he was always so encouraging - we cro3ssed paths a lot when I was managing Nsimba Foggis and Taxi Pata Pata - he wrote letters to help Nsimba stay here, was the first person to play the dub plate we made - on Capital and gave them their first radio session - and then on National TV dubbed them Britain's best African Band - talking 80's still here. He kept good contact and supported other bands I worked with - when Womad were unsure, when new product was to be played, including artists in those amazing compilations, making sessions possible, and was always utterly honest about what he thought of a track.
He encouraged me in difficult times with band management and was pleased when it went well and was very generous to me with my own radio stuff. Was a key supporter of all the aritsts we worked with as Half the Sky (- and then other artists I've worked with over time) - and willingly contributed for free to our magazine (Topical). And was so modest when we organised campaigns to keep him on Capital or supported him in other ways. I didn't always agree with Charlie's responses to records - and at one time we had a big fall out over something else - but he always bounced back and we said what we had to say at the time and then brushed it all off and resumed.
He always had time to chat no matter how busy the occasion - sometimes at industry events, outside the comfort zone, it's hard to network just like that and Charlie would always say hi and give me some time and maybe introduce me to someone to make it easier. And I know he was brilliant with his grandchildren and it was can't write was always lovely to see with him and Buffy too - always so inclusive. It's not like we were close friends - but he always made me feel very welcomed.
This must have been very sudden - I know Charlie was very ill before and made a remarkable recovery and then I've been out of the loop for a little while so I didn't know he'd had a heart attack. That's the hardest when you are not prepared. When my father died - some years ago - I knew he couldn't live another second because he had been very very ill and in hospital for a while so we had been kind of preparing ourselves even though we didn't want to face it. So we were kind of ready. But this is a shock
It's a relief we have this forum.
My heart goes out to Buffy and Suzy and Jody and the rest of the family - especially the little ones. And to people who are very close.
Can't believe it. 68 is not such a lot older than me either. Such a loss - and so much still here ....