Born Robert Earnest Money, 20 March 1925, Halesburg, Alabama
Died 23 December 2003, Columbus, Georgia
According to the Social Security Death Index, Curley Money was born in 1925, and not in 1923, as some others (A. Komorowski, T. Gordon) will have us believe. Curley was the youngest in a family of six brothers and two sisters. He became interested in music at the age of eight, when two of his older brothers started playing musical instruments. Soon Curley had his own guitar and dreamed of fame as a country star. He moved to Columbus, Georgia, in 1942 (according to Colin Escott) or 1950 (according to Adam Komorowski), where he formed his own group, the Rhythm Ramblers. They toured nationwide. The group included his nephew Comer Money, who would make several records of his own in the 1960s, on his uncle's Money and Rambler labels. After a stint at WGBA Radio in Columbus, the Rhythm Ramblers had their own TV show for a while, on WRBL TV.
Money started his first record label, Rambler Records, in 1956. His first record, released in April of that year, was pure country : "Playing the Game"/ "Why Must I Cry". He went on to record such boppers as "Gonna Rock" (Rambler 552, also Money 8812), "Lazy Man" (Rambler 554), "Bo Jangles Rock" (Rambler 3407), "Hurricane Baby" (Rambler 2331), "Little Queenie" (Money 105) and a great version of George Jones's "White Lightning"(Money 102). This last one as late as 1965. For the availability of these records on reissue comps see the entry for Curley Money on Terry Gordon's website: http://rcs.law.emory.edu/rcs/artists/m/mone5000.htm
There is also a somewhat mysterious connection with the Sun label. Curley's "Chain Gang Charlie" (which runs to a bare 1 minute 27 seconds) has appeared on two compilations of unissued Sun material (on Charly and Bear Family). Then there is the Phillips International single (3530) "The Frog"/"A Little Blue Bird Told Me". Credit on the label goes to "Lee Mitchell" and, in smaller print, "The Curly (sic) Money Combo". "The Frog" is a good guitar / sax instrumental in the style of "Raunchy", played by the usual Sun suspects : Billy Riley, Bill Justis, Jack Clement, Charlie Rich and Jimmy Van Eaton. Exactly what role either Lee Mitchell or Curley Money played in this is unclear, though Mitchell obviously is the vocalist on the B-side.
The Sun index at http://www.sunrecords.biz/search/artist/leemitchell.php tries to tell us that "Chain Gang Charlie", "The Frog" and "A Little Bird Told Me" were all recorded on September 4, 1956. This may well be true for "Chain Gang Charlie" (which is wrongly credited to Lee Mitchell there), but the Phillips Inter- national single was released in September 1958 and has a typical post-Raunchy sound. Bill Justis and Charlie Rich had not yet even arrived at Sun in September 1956!
Money continued to record well into the seventies, for the Gold Standard record label in Nashville, but never gave up his day job as a radio announcer on Radio WHYD in Columbus, where he would live until the end of his life in 2003.
Buffalo Bop issued an LP (Buffalo Bop 2003) with 12 Curly Money tracks in 1985.
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