On this episode of Old School Radio Show, Rockford College Alumni class of ’70 Glen Moss has a special guest, Blues musician Charles “Barrelhouse Chuck” Goering. Glen and Charles talk about another Blues great, Leroy Carr.
Barrelhouse Chuck was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, United States, and learned to play the drums by the age of six. He later graduated to the piano, and had relocated with his family to Gainesville, Florida, before he first heard a Muddy Waters record. It was by listening to blues records that Barrelhouse Chuck learned the techniques of blues piano playing. He formed his own band in his teenage years, and followed Muddy Waters around the Southern United States trying to pick up playing tips from his pianist Pinetop Perkins. In 1979, he drove from Florida to Chicago, Illinois, to introduce himself to Sunnyland Slim. Barrelhouse Chuck spent the next decade and a half studying his playing, along with other Chicago blues musicians including Blind John Davis, Little Brother Montgomery and Erwin Helfer. In the company of Montgomery for a long time, Barrelhouse Chuck later remarked “Little Brother was like a grandfather to me”.
Over the years, Barrelhouse Chuck has played or recorded with Jimmy Rogers, Eddie Taylor, Hubert Sumlin, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, and Otis “Big Smokey” Smothers. For a time in the late 1990s he played with Mississippi Heat, and undertook a tour with Nick Moss and the Flip Tops.
His debut album, Salute to Sunnyland Slim, was released on Blue Loon Records in 1999, and contained supporting work from S.P. Leary, Calvin “Fuzz” Jones and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. It was re-issued in 2005. The follow-up was Prescription for the Blues (2002), when Erwin Helfer appeared on three tracks. Kim Wilson played the harmonica on Barrelhouse Chuck’s 2006 offering, Got My Eyes on You.
In February 2008, Wilson asked Barrelhouse Chuck to assist in recording the soundtrack for the film, Cadillac Records. His other credits include numerous appearances at the Chicago Blues Festival.
As of 2012, Barrelhouse Chuck maintains a full performance schedule in Chicago, around the United States, and occasionally abroad, including a regular solo appearance on Wednesday nights at The Barrelhouse Flat, a bar in Lincoln Park.
In 2013, Barrelhouse Chuck was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the ‘Pinetop Perkins Piano Player’ category.