Guide to the Charles E. Banks Papers

Sean Dickerson
African American Museum & Library at Oakland
659 14th Street
Oakland, California 94612
Phone: (510) 637-0198
Fax: (510) 637-0204
Email: aamlo@oaklandlibrary.org
URL: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/african-american-museum-library-oakland
© 2017
African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Charles E. Banks Papers

Collection number: MS213

African American Museum & Library at Oakland

Oakland, California
Processed by:
Sean Dickerson
Date Completed:
2017-08-02
Encoded by:
Sean Dickerson
© 2017 African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Charles E. Banks Papers
Dates: 1956-2000
Collection number: MS 213
Creator: Banks, Charles E.
Collection Size: .75 linear feet (1 box + 1 oversized box)
Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Oakland, CA 94612
Abstract: Bay area blues musician and artist Charles E. Banks (1938-2000) was born Charles Edward Banks in Taylorville, Illinois, December 4, 1938. The Charles E. Banks Papers include assorted biographical material, concert flyers, posters, programs, song lists, club advertisements, entertainment calendars, reproductions of artwork, photographs, handwritten poems, and three audiocassettes featuring Blues on Tap's live and studio recordings.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.

Access Restrictions

Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

Preferred Citation

Charles E. Banks Papers, MS 213, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

Processing Information

Processed by Sean Dickerson.

Biography / Administrative History

Bay area blues musician and artist Charles E. Banks (1938-2000) was born Charles Edward Banks in Taylorville, Illinois, December 4, 1938 to parents Edward and Grace. His mother, Grace Drasdale, played piano at the local Baptist church, and his father was a day laborer who sang in the church choir. Banks graduated from Taylorville High School in 1956 and joined the United States Air Force. While completing his tour in Spokane, Washington, he met J.J. Malone who taught him to play the electric bass. Banks was given a room to rent at Malone’s home and would take guitar lessons from him on weekends. Together they formed their first band, The Rockers (later the Tops in Blues), playing radio stations, and hospital wards and frequently for Nez Perce audiences across the Idaho State line. After leaving the service, Malone and Banks formed the Rhythm Rockers in Fresno, California, adding C.A. Carr, Calvin Peele, and former rockabilly Troyce Key to the lineup.
By 1967 Malone, Carr, and Key had left the Rhythm Rockers. In 1968 Banks relocated to Oakland, California, to join Malone, attending college at California State University, Hayward. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in geography in 1975, becoming employed as a health worker for the City of Berkeley and continuing to play with Malone. Banks would feature on Sonny Rhodes’ 1977 I Don’t Want My Blues Colored Bright, and the Rhythm Rockers’ albums I’ve Gotta New Car (1980) and Younger than Yesterday (1982). In 1986 Banks formed two bands, The Bluesmen and Blues on Tap, a 1940s-50s-sounding jump band in the Louis Jordan style, which were featured weekly at such Oakland blues venues as Eli’s Mile High Club, The Fifth Amendment and Louis KeeSee’s Your Place Too (previously the Don Barksdale’s Sportsman Club and later The Grove).
Throughout the 1980’s Banks was active with the Oakland Arts program “Blues in the Schools.” His music career ended in 1989 as the result of debilitation due to spinal stenosis. Banks took up and devoted the last decade of his life to painting, watercolors, and mixed media artwork, exhibiting and winning several awards in international contests for disabled artists with his series The Fish of Charles E. Banks. He passed away on December 20, 2000.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Charles E. Banks Papers are arranged into six series: Biographical material, blues career, the Fish of Charles E. Banks, photographs, poetry and audiocassettes. Biographical material includes various diplomas, business cards and Banks' Parks Air Force yearbook. Banks’ blues career material consists of concert flyers, posters, and programs, song lists, club advertisements, entertainment calendars, and assorted printed material. The Fish of Charles E. Banks series includes Banks’ artist statement, exhibition mailers, juried art show programs and reproductions of artwork. The poetry series consists of eight original poems handwritten by Banks. Included in the photographs are group portraits of Banks in various promotional images and performing on stage, as well as documentation of his visual art. The papers also include three audiocassettes of Charles Banks and Blues on Tap’s live and studio recordings.

Arrangement

Series I. Biographical material Series II. Blues career Series III. The Fish of Charles E. Banks Series IV. Photographs Series V. Poetry Series V. Audiocassettes

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Banks, Charles.
Blues (Music)--California--San Francisco Bay Area.
Blues musicians -- United States -- Biography.
Eli’s Mile High Club (Oakland, Calif.).
Key, Troyce.
Malone, J.J.
Sound recordings.

Related Material

Key (Troyce) Papers, African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Malone (J.J.) Audiovisual Collection, African American Museum & Library at Oakland

Collection Contents

 

Biographical material 1956-1975

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes various diplomas, business cards and Banks' Parks Air Force yearbook.

Arrangement

Arranged by format and date thereafter.
 

Diplomas

Box 1:1

Taylorville High School diploma 1956-06-05

Box 1:1

Department of the Air Force certificate of training 1959-08-10

Box 1:1

Bachelor of Arts, California State University, Hayward 1975-08-29

 

The Grass Busters

Box 1:2

The Grass Busters business card undated

Box 1:2

The Grass Busters gardeners flyer undated

 

Park Air Force yearbook

Box 1:3

Parks Air Force Base yearbook 1955

 

Blues career circa 1980s-2000

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes concert flyers, posters, and programs, song lists, club advertisements, entertainment calendars, and assorted printed material documenting Charles Banks' career as a blues musician.

Arrangement

Arranged by format and date thereafter.
 

Band member biographies

Box 1:4

Blues on Tap [two copies] undated

Box 1:4

Charles Banks undated

Box 1:4

Carl “Good Rockin” Robinson undated

Box 1:4

Chris “Trap” Daniels undated

Box 1:4

Bernard Anderson undated

 

Calendars

Box 1:5

Rhythm Rockers’ outside performance dates 1986

Box 1:5

Charles “Lover Boy” Banks and Blues on Tap performance calendars circa 1980s

Box 1:5

Eli’s Mile High Club entertainment calendars 1987-1988

Box 1:5

Your Place Too entertainment calendars circa 1980s

 

Discographies and song lists

Box 1:6

Handwritten discography undated

Box 1:6

Song lists undated

 

Flyers and posters

Box 1:7

Three day grand opening Your Place Too featuring Lowell Fulsom and Blues on Tap circa 1980s

Box 1:7

Blues on Tap promotional flyers circa 1980s

Box 1:7

Charlie Banks and Blues on Tap at Your Place Too [two copies] circa 1980s

Box OM 23

First anniversary at Your Place Too with Blues on Tap and guest Al King circa 1980s

Box 1:7

First year anniversary celebration at Your Place Too featuring Al King, Freddie Hughes and Charlie Banks and Blues on Tap circa 1980s

Box 1:7

Labor Day celebration at Eli’s Mile High Club with Charles “Lover Boy” Banks and Blues on Tap circa 1980s

Box 1:7

Your Place Too presents Chick Willis (The Stoopdown Man) with Charlie Banks and Blues on Tap circa 1980s

Box 1:7

A night of celebration at Your Place Too 1989-02

Box OM 23

Olympic Tavern reunion of Fresno's own Rhythm Rockers 1989-08-04

Box 1:7

Charles Banks benefit 1990-06-11

Box OM 23

Eli’s Mile High Club benefit for blues artist Charles Banks 2000-02-13

Box OM 23

Charlie's Corner posters 2000-02-20

 

On Tap Productions

Box 1:8

On Tap Productions promotional image circa 1980s

Box 1:8

On Tap Productions business card circa 1980s

 

Recognitions

Box 1:9

East Bay All-Stars Best Musical Group certificate to J.J. Malone, Troyce Key and the Rhythm Rockers for Best Musical Group 1982-10-15

Box 1:9

Bay Area Blues Society Bass Guitarist of the Year Award 1989-02-06

 

Assorted printed material

Box 1:10

“Roots,” Express 1985-08-30

Box 1:10

Monterey Jazz Festival souvenir program 1986

Box 1:10

“Whole lotta blues at Monterey Festival,” San Francisco Examiner 1986

Box 1:10

“Blues in the schools underway,” newspaper clipping 1987

Box 1:10

Bay Blues Monthly vol. 2 1989-02

Box 1:10

2nd Annual Blues Awards Show of the Bay Area Blues Society held at the Oakland Museum program 1989-02-18

Box 1:10

“’62 Rhythm Rockers reunited for blues concert at the Oly,” Fresno Bee 1989-02-18

Box 1:10

“’62 Rhythm Rockers reunited for blues concert at the Oly,” Fresno Bee 1989-08-04

Box 1:10

“Charles Banks: Musician, artist, dreamer,” San Francisco Examiner 1995-06-05

Box 1:10

West Coast Blues No. 14 1995-12

Box 1:10

West Coast Blues No. 15 1996-02

Box 1:10

“Blues vet sings song of survival,” newspaper clipping circa 1990s

 

The Fish of Charles E. Banks 1988-1999

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes Banks’ artist statement, newspaper clippings, exhibition mailers, juried art show programs and reproductions of his artwork.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
Box 1:11

“Veterans show off their artistic talent,” The Post 1988-04-10

Box 1:11

Cuniff Studio-Gallery exhibition announcement Charles Banks 'Creator of the Fish' 1994

Box 1:11

Gallery Concord exhibition All-American Folk Art Gallery 1994

Box 1:11

Jack Wold Fine Art Gallery mailer circa 1995

Box 1:11

32nd Annual Sister Kenny Institute International Art Show by Artists with Disabilities 1995

Box 1:11

Sister Kenny Institute certificate of recognition 1996

Box 1:11

33rd Annual Sister Kenny Institute International Art Show by Artists with Disabilities 1996

Box 1:11

34th Annual International Art Show by Artists with Disabilities 1997

Box 1:11

Charles Banks Artist folder circa 1997

Box 1:11

Charles E. Banks artist statement [two copies] circa 1997

Box 1:11

Two signed Fish prints 1997

Box 1:11

Charles Banks Fish of Charles notecards [three] 1997

Box 1:11

No. 3 painting documentation 1997

Box 1:11

Charles E. Banks paintings 1993-1996 circa 1997

Box 1:11

Charles E. Banks paintings 1997 circa 1997

Box 1:11

Department of Veterans Affairs National Veterans Creative Arts Festival booklet, Grand Junction, Colorado 1999-10-11

Box 1:11

“Veterans awarded for excellence in the arts,” Martinez Record 1999

Box 1:11

"The fish of Charles opens Saturday," newspaper clipping circa 1990s

 

Photographs 1957-1995

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes various group portraits, promotional images, as well as documentation of Banks' visual art.

Arrangement

Arranged by identification number.
Box 1:12

Parker Air Force Base class photograph, caption: “Hydraulics course” [001] circa 1990s

Box 1:12

Group photograph (left to right): Sonny Rhoades, Al King, J.J. Malone, Charles Banks [002] undated

Box 1:12

Group photograph of Troyce Key, J.J. Malone and the Rhythm Rockers [003] circa 1980s

Box 1:12

Charles Banks with Oakland Unified School District student, caption: “Blues in the schools” [004] 1987

Box 1:12

Photo collage of the Rhythm Rockers 1958 and 1988 [005] 1988

Box 1:12

The Rhythm Rockers promotional photograph, (left to right): Chris Daniels, Troyce Key, C.A. Carr, J.J. Malone, Charles Banks [006] circa 1980s

Box 1:12

Charles Banks performing on outdoor stage [007] undated

Box 1:12

Blues on Tap (left to right): Chris Daniels, Carl Good Rockin Robinson, Charles Banks, and Bernard Anderson [008] circa 1980s

Box 1:12

Photograph of Lowell Fulsom with Charles Banks [009] undated

Box 1:12

Twenty-nine Fish paintings [010-038] 1994-1995

 

Poetry undated

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes eight pages of original poems handwritten by Charles Banks.
Box 1:13

Assorted poems undated

 

Audiocassettes circa 1980s

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes three audiocassettes of Blues on Tap’s live and studio recordings
Box 1:13

Charles Banks and Blues on Tap live with Chick Willis at Your Place Too circa 1980s

Box 1:13

Blues on Tap studio recordings circa 1980s

Box 1:13

Blues on Tap live at the Cotati Cabaret circa 1980s