Dialtone Records Artists

About Ervin Charles

Ervin Charles Ervin was born January 3, 1932, in Port Barre, Louisiana. While he was in his early teens his stepfather, George Andrus, taught him to play guitar. 

In 1952 Ervin moved with his family to Beaumont, Texas and worked in a box factory. There he formed the Hollywood Bearcats with his brother-in-law, Roy Stelly, and Long John Hunter. Ervin, Long John, and Roy were the only members of the Bearcats. Ervin and Long John on guitars (one playing lead/rhythm licks and the other bass lines) and Roy on drums, together they established "Swamp Blues" style. In 1955 when Long John moved to El Paso, Ervin and Roy kept gigging. Shortly after, Ervin joined "Big Sambo and the Housewreckers." 

Sam (Big Sambo) moved to California, and Ervin began playing with the Nite Riders. By 1964 they were one of the top bands in the area. In the late 60's, with the return of Sam, Ervin began working to get the Housewreckers back together. This time "Big Sambo" dropped his stage name and Sam Young and the Soul Lovers was born. The band featured Ervin along with other singers such as Richard Earl, Earlene Owens, and Lil Jimmy. 

In 1972 the Soul Lovers recorded their first record with legendary producer, Huey Meaux. "Funky Booty" became a big hit within the region, and Ervin and Sam were back on the scene in the "Golden Triangle" of Southeast Texas. The Soul Lovers started playing the Club Raven, Red Lounge, Channelview, Blue Moon, and the Joyland CafĂ©. 

Ervin made a change in his life in 1974. He bought a dump truck and opened Charles Trucking. Even with the steady development of his small business, Ervin kept up with the band's busy schedule throughout the seventies. It wasn't until 1980 that the band slowed down due to an illness Sam had. With Sam's death in 1983 the band fell apart. After that, Ervin did not play again professionally until he joined his friend Edgar Foster in the late 1980's. 

In 1985 Ervin brought the Nite Riders back and began gigging regularly. Everyone, especially Austin producer Tary Owens, wanted to see the reunion of Ervin and Long John, who hadn't seen each other in nearly 40 years. Tary was so impressed with Ervin that he gave him an opportunity to play one of the premier blues festivals in Europe. November of 1997 the Nite Riders flew to Amsterdam, Holland to play the Blues Estaffette. When Ervin returned home, he teamed up with Long John, Lonnie Brooks, and Phillip Walker and recorded the "Lone Star Shootout." Ervin's own "Born in Louisiana" appeared on the CD and was nominated for two W.C. Handy Awards. Ervin Charles was always supportive and a great inspiration to the musicians he touched. This CD documents the heart of the man behind the guitar. 

Sadly, Ervin did not live to see this record released. He passed away on April 1, 2000.

Available Releases
Greyhound Blues

Richard Earl

Greyhound Blues