Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Baty, Little Charlie, Collection
MC 112  
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
The collection contains a selection of photographs, flyers and handbills, blues music publications, personal and professional correspondence, posters, band calendars and itineraries, newspaper clippings, and recordings documenting the life and career of Sacramento based blues musician Charles "Little Charlie" Baty.
Charles Eric Baty was born in Birmingham, Alabama on July 10, 1953 and moved with his family to Millbrae, California in 1961. He was given a harmonica at age 11 and played school dances and slumber parties from 1966-1970. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he formed the Charles Baty Blues Band and played at little clubs along Telegraph Avenue as well as the Rhinoceros Club in Redwood City, which featured such blues legends as the Gary Smith Blues Band and Charlie Musselwhite. After graduating with a degree in Mathematics, Baty moved to Sacramento in 1975 and joined the local band Quickshake as a singer, harmonica player, and occasional guitarist. The band split and reformed into two groups, one of which Baty named Little Charlie and the Nightcats in honor of Little Walter, who recorded a 78 of "Juke" as Little Walter and His Nightcats. Baty continued as singer and harmonica player, switching to guitar when he invited Rick Estrin to move from San Francisco to Sacramento and join the band. Estrin was an established harmonica player and singer, having performed with such blues notables as Lowell Fulson, Travis Phillips, Johnny Littlejohn, and Johnny Young. The Baty and Estrin duo became the bedrock of Little Charlie and the Nightcats and they played together for the next 32 years. Little Charlie and the Nightcats signed with Alligator Records in 1987 and recorded nine albums with them beginning with "All the Way Crazy" in 1987 and culminating in 2005's "Nine Lives." Baty retired from the band in 2009, and went on to play with jazz groups Little Charlie Caravan and Little Charlie & Organ Grinder Swing, with whom he recorded the 2016 album "Skronky Tonk." He toured and recorded with Golden State/Lone Star Revue featuring singer/harmonica player Mark Hummel and guitarists Baty and Anson Funderburgh. Baty also toured and recorded with Sugar Ray and the Bluetones and singer/harmonica player Quique Gomez. Baty died of a heart attack unrelated to Covid on March 6, 2020.
4 Linear Feet 4 archival boxes, 1 archival folder, 1 external hard drive
All requests to publish or quote from private collections held by the Sacramento Public Library must be submitted in writing to sacroom@saclibrary.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Sacramento Public Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.