Roy Harvey (musician)

Roy Harvey ( born March 24, 1892, at Monroe County, West Virginia; † July 11, 1958 ) was an American Old-time musician and guitarist. Harvey played as a guitarist in the backing band Charlie Poole, the North Carolina Ramblers, and took over the leadership of the group after Poole's death.

  • 2.1 Singles
  • 2.2 albums
  • 3.1 Literature
  • 3.2 External links


Childhood and youth

Roy Harvey was born in West Virginia and raised on. He was the only member of Poole's band that did not come from North Carolina. As a child, Harvey learned to play guitar and worked since the age of 19 as an engine driver at the Virginian Railroad, but was dismissed in 1923 after a strike. Later, Harvey processed this incident in his song The Virginian Strike of '23.


1925 Harvey met Charlie Poole know who was on tour and played in West Virginia. Impressed by Harvey's skills on the guitar Poole hired this on for his band. In the next five years, Harvey would become the most important member of the North Carolina Ramblers. He managed Poole's career, which was by his self-destructive lifestyle in danger often enough. During his time in Poole Harvey worked at the same time in a record store in Beckley, where he came into contact with local musicians like Jess Johnston, Leonard Copeland, Earl Shirkley or Ernest Branch and Benice Coleman. With them he founded several bands.

Behind it is much more than just the desire to make music. Harvey developed a concept with which he managed to get several recording contracts. Old -Time and Hillbilly were during the 1920s, extremely popular and Harvey recognized the potential that he had. Therefore he opened various record labels, he would take for them what they wanted: String Band songs with Branch and Coleman, religious songs with Bob Hoke, Blue Yodeling with Shirkley or fast guitar duets with Jess Johnston. Harvey reached by a much higher chance to be accepted by a label. In less than five years, Harvey was able to look back on the work of approximately 200 shots.

His first success was with Harvey Earl Shirkley than in 1928 together grossed When The Roses Bloom For The Bootlegger. The piece was a parody of the hit song I'll Be With You When The Roses Bloom Again and dealt with the prohibition in the United States. The single was with more than 72,000 copies sold in the same year to become the sixth best -selling record for Columbia Records.

After Poole had terminated the contract with Columbia Records, and in 1931 died, Harvey took over the leadership of the North Carolina Ramblers, replacing Poole by the mandolin player and singer Bob Hoole. Harvey arranged recording sessions with Gennett Records, Paramount Records and Brunswick Records. Thanks to the Fiddlers of the group Posey Rorer, the songs had a similar sound as the already proven success track with Poole and sold well.

During the Depression, which reached its peak in the early 1930s in America, Harvey had success by rapidly; subsequently, he worked first as a police officer in Beckley, but moved in 1942 to Florida, where he found a job as a railroad worker. He had now completely abandoned the music. Harvey died in 1958 at the age of 66 years.



The following discography is not complete, since it is difficult with Harvey's work of more than 200 recordings to create a complete list. Also, many boards have not been published under the name Harvey, because he worked only as a background musician or acted as a member of a group.


  • Roy Harvey Vol.1, 1926-1927
  • Roy Harvey Vol.2, 1928-1929
  • Roy Harvey Vol.3, 1929-1930
  • Roy Harvey, Vol.4 1931

Sources and links