(Writers note: It’s been about a year and a half since I wrote a feature story on the return of Charlie Burgin to the local entertainment scene. Burgin, who has performed in venues in and around the region since the mid-60’s, came out of a retirement forced upon him by health issues at the time. Since then, he has been re-invigorated by losing over 100 lbs and finding a new passion for his lifetime love – singing! The following is an update on Burgin since his return. RW)
Charlie Burgin! The name is synonymous with entertainment and recognized by just about anyone over the age of 35 that has lived in this region of the country and has visited night clubs or other entertainment venues over the past 46 years. Burgin is well known as a soul-singing legend from the northside of Columbus, in particular the area near 7th Ave. North and the historical Queen City Hotel. That area is the birthplace of some of the best music ever known in this area. The recently held 7th Ave. Heritage Festival is a testament and memorial for that era of great music and musical legends, past and current!
Since Burgin’s return to the local entertainment scene, he has come across numerous people and fans who didn’t know he was still alive. Yes, folks…the widespread rumor that Charlie Burgin is no longer with us has been greatly exxagerated! Burgin will be the first to tell you so!
“Let me pinch myself and see..”, said Burgin recently. “Yes…I’m still here”, he laughs.
Burgin and his band, Southbound Train, performed last Saturday night at The Moose Lodge in Tuscaloosa. For Burgin, returning to perform in Tuscaloosa, where he first performed in 1969 and is as well known there as he is in Columbus – maybe more so – was quite a treat. Especially since one particular member of the Tuscaloosa Moose Lodge didn’t believe he was still alive until she saw him on stage Saturday night. The gig at the Moose Lodge had been scheduled since the Market Street Festival back in May. After the booking of Burgin had been announced to members of the lodge back in June, the lady had doubted Burgin was still living. She finally got to see ‘living’ proof at the Saturday night appearance.
Burgin has been singing on a regular basis by performing with houseband Footloose at The Junction, located at 4987 Hwy. 182 east in Columbus. He sings there every other Saturday night with the band. Many people are still rediscovering that Burgin has returned to the local music scene. Just about every Saturday night that he performs there, someone new shows up that thought he had parted this world. Burgin is more than happy to show them that he is still here -alive and well – and furthermore singing as good as he ever has!
During the performance at The Moose Lodge in Tuscaloosa, the crowd was reminded about how long Burgin (also known as ‘Charlie B.’, ‘Big C’ etc. RW) had performed in that area. Since 1969, Burgin had performed at night clubs in Northport and Tuscaloosa, such as ‘The Red Horse’, ‘The Ponderosa Club’, ‘The Chapparal’, The ‘Shiloh’ Club, ‘The Red Ox’, The ‘Cross The River’ Club and of course, ‘The Stardust’, which is now a building supply store in Northport!
Around Columbus, it was ‘The Playmore’, ‘The Sharecropper’, ‘The 45 Club’, ‘Straight 8 Jr.’, ‘The Chism Trail’ and many others. Burgin reminds everyone that if you want to come and see that he is, indeed, still alive…come and see him saturday night at The Junction! He’ll gladly perform a Percy Sledge classic for you!