Moore, Charles Benjamin

February 13, 1935–December 24, 1979

Moore performed with Bill Napier—formerly of the Stanley Brothers—as the Dixie Partners from 1960 until 1967. Napier was adept on banjo, lead guitar, and mandolin, while Charlie handled the singing.

Singer. Charlie Moore possessed one of the great lead-singing voices in bluegrass music, but he never fully received the attention he deserved. With Bill Napier, he turned out nine quality albums on King Records, then cut some sixteen additional solo projects on various labels. Unfortunately, health problems took his life early at the age of forty-four.

Born in Piedmont on February 13, 1935, Moore drew influences from the country radio performers who broadcast from the South Carolina upstate. He developed a smooth vocal style more akin to that of Red Smiley and Clyde Moody than to the mountain-styled bluegrass singers. During the mid-1950s Moore worked on radio and television programs in the western Carolinas, and he made his first single recording for Starday in 1958.

Moore performed with Bill Napier–formerly of the Stanley Brothers– the Dixie Partners from 1960 until 1967. Napier was adept on banjo, lead guitar, and mandolin, while Charlie handled the singing. In December 1962 they cut the first of nine albums totaling some 108 numbers for King Records. Their best-known number, “Truck Driver’s Queen,” was covered by other artists. The pair worked on television in Spartanburg and Panama City, Florida, and at various times their band included such well-known musicians as Jimmy Williams, Curly Lambert, Henry Dockery, and Chubby Anthony, although critics sometimes charged their entourage as “somewhat lacking in depth.”

After the Moore-Napier relationship dissolved, Charlie did some deejay work before starting a new version of the Dixie Partners in 1970. He first recorded an album for the small Country Jubilee label, followed by two albums for Vetco and one each for Wango, Leather, and Starday (never released). In 1973 he began a string of albums for Old Homestead, the fourth of which, titled The Fiddler, contained what became his signature song, “Legend of the Rebel Soldier,” which subsequently was included on The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Country Music.

Moore suffered recurring health problems, many related to cirrhosis of the liver. In late November 1979, while traveling to Maryland for a show date, he became severely ill. Band members took him to the Johns Hopkins Medical Center, where he slipped into a coma. He died on December 24, 1979. Many of his recordings have been transferred to compact disc.

Brumley, Charles. “Charles Benjamin Moore.” Bluegrass Unlimited 14 (February 1980): 5.

Kuykendall, Pete. “Charlie Moore.” Bluegrass Unlimited 7 (January 1973): 5–9.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Moore, Charles Benjamin
  • Coverage February 13, 1935–December 24, 1979
  • Author
  • Keywords Singer, bluegrass music, performed with Bill Napier—formerly of the Stanley Brothers—as the Dixie Partners, “Truck Driver’s Queen,”,
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date May 10, 2021
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update October 20, 2016
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