Five Long Years : Eddie Boyd©2006JCMarion


Edward Riley "Little Eddie" Boyd was born on November 25, 1914, in Stovall, Mississippi. His father was a guitarist in rural Mississippi and the family lived and worked on Stovall Plantation. In his early teens young Eddie ran away from home and did odd jobs in the mid South and in Missouri. By 1940 he had taught himself to play guitar and piano and joined his first small band about that time called The Dixie Rhythm Boys and played locally in and around Memphis, Tennessee. By the mid forties Boyd had settled in Chicago and became a part of the active blues scene in that city . He did many appearances with Sonny Boy Williamson, Johnny Shines, and early Muddy Waters.

In April of 1947 Boyd made the first recording under his own name in Chicago for RCA Victor. As "Little Eddie" Boyd he fronted the J.T. Brown combo which featured Brown on tenor sax, Howard Dixon on piano, James Clark on piano, Lonnie Graham on guitar, and Willie Dixon on bass. "Kilroy Won't Come Back" and "I Had To Let Her Go" was released for RCA on # 20-2311. Later that year he recorded some additional sides for RCA as Little Eddie Boyd & His Boogie Band with Oett "Sax" Mallard and Bill Casimir on saxes, E.L. Liggett on bass, and Booker T. Washington on drums. Some of the tunes were "Unfair Lovers" / "You Got To Love That Girl" on 20-2555, "Rosa Lee Swing" and "Blue Monday Blues" on # 20-2703, "Getting My Divorce" / "Playmate Shuffle" on # 20-2920, and "Why Did She Leave Me" / "Mr. Highway Man" on # 20-3058. Eddie did not record again until 1950 when a single release for Regal as "Ernie" Boyd with the tunes "I Gotta Find My Baby" and "Why Don't You Be Wise" on # 3305. He continued to appear regularly in the Chicago area at venues such as the Crown Propeller Lounge and the Dew Drop Inn.

In 1952 Boyd joined up with J.O.B. Records in Chicago and recorded with Ernest Cotton on tenor, L.C. McKinley on guitar, Alfred Elkins on bass, and Perry Walker on drums. J.O.B. # 1007 featured "Five Long Years" and "Blue Coat Man". The tune "Five Long Years" was the first side from Boyd to do well in terms of air play and sales. This was a huge boost for Boyd as he finally got some name recognition on the Chicago blues scene. By September of the year the record is a top R & B seller in Memphis as well as Chicago. Because of the success of the record, Boyd is signed up with Chess Records the biggest independent in Chicago. He records with Robert Lockwood and Chess releases "Cool Kind Treatment" and "Rosalee Swing" ( a remake of one of his earlier RCA sides) on Chess # 1523. As this record was issued J.O.B. releases "It's Miserable To Be Alone" / "I'm Pleading" on # 1009. By November the Chess side is selling well in Atlanta and Richmond, while "Five Long Years" continues to be a big seller and leads to a number of headlining personal appearance dates.

In early 1953 Boyd records "24 Hours" and "The Tickler" for Chess on # 1533, "Third Degree" and "Back Beat" with Little Sax Crowder on # 1541, and "That's When I Miss You" and "Tortured Soul" on # 1552. Both "24 Hours" and "Third Degree" do well leading Boyd to be one of the top blues performers of the time. In February of 1954 Boyd records "Picture In The Frame" and "Nothing But Trouble" on Chess # 1561. In June of the year Boyd appears at a big show and dance hosted by Sam Evans that also features Muddy Waters (reportedly related to Boyd), Fats Domino, Joe Turner, and The 5 C's. At this time "Hush Baby Don't You Cry" and "Came Home This Morning" is released by Chess on # 1573 recorded with guitarist Ellis Hunter. In September Boyd appears at the annual Music Jamboree benefit show presented by McKie Fitzhugh. Along with Eddie, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Jimmie Rogers, The ElDorados, and The 5 Echoes are on the bill. Boyd goes back in the studio for Chess with Percy Brockenberg on tenor sax, Lee Cooper on guitar, Alfred Elkins on bass, and Perry Walker on drums. The tunes released are "Driftin" and "Rattlin And Runnin Around" on # 1576. In October Boyd and The Spaniels team up for a number of one nighters through the South and Midwest. In November Chicago dj McKie Fitzhugh opens his own night spot and opens with Eddie Boyd, The 5 Echoes, The Capris, and El Dorados. Late in the month "The Story Of Bill" and "Please Help Me" are released on # 1582. In December Boyd appears at the 6th annual Goodwill Revue Charity Concert sponsored by Memphis radio station WDIA.

Kicking off 1955, Eddie Boyd records "The Nightmare Is Over" and "Real Good Feeling" on Chess # 1595. The tune "Nightmare" is a decent seller for Boyd, and in September Boyd records with Percy Mayfield's band and the songs "I'm A Prisoner" and "I've Been Deceived" are released on # 1606. Eddie makes many local appearances throughout Chicago, as well as in Gary, Indiana, and dates in Kentucky. He begins the year of 1956 with an extended engagement at Chicago's Happy Home Lounge. Another two tunes recorded with Percy Mayfield's band are released by Chess - "Life Gets To Be A Burden" and "Don't" are issued on # 1621. In June Boyd plays at the "Bluesorama" show at the Trianon in Chicago along with Ray Charles, Mussy Waters, The Kool Gents, and The Five Chances. Boyd and Bo Diddley team up for a Southern tour in June and July. In October "Four Leaf Clover" and "Just A Fool" on # 1634 is released.

In the spring of 1957 "I Got A Woman" and "Hotel Blues" recorded with Percy Brockenberg's combo is released on # 1660. In July Boyd appears with Sam Evans with a special show for inmates at the Cook County Jail. A short time later Boyd is involved in a serious auto accident which leads to a three month rehabilitation period. Getting back to music, "I Got The Blues" and "She's The One" recorded with Robert Lockwood is released on # 1674 in November. At the start of 1958, many changes in the musical tastes of the country had affected many of the long time blues performers. Chess dropped Boyd after six years, and his first record during the year was a June release on his old indie label J.O.B. Records of "I Love You" and "Save Her Doctor" on # 1114. In January of 1959 the Oriole label released remakes of "Five Long Years" and "24 Hours Of Fear" on # 1316. In September of the year Boyd recorded a session with Ronald Wilson on tenor, Robert Lockwood Jr. on guitar, Bob Carter on bass, and Sonny Allen on drums. "I'm Coming Home" and "Thank You Baby" are released on Bea & Baby Records # 101 followed by a remake of "Blue Monday Blues" and "The Blues Is Here To Stay" on # 107, and "You Got To Reap What You Sow" and "Come Home" on # 108. Eddie Boyd had one last record in 1959 for the Keyhole label - "All The Way" and "Where You Belong" recorded with Christine Kittrell & The Daylighters

In the early sixties Boyd recorded for a number of small labels such as Esquire, La Salle, Art-Tone, Push, and Texas based Palos. In 1965 Boyd decided to pick up and move - to Europe becoming one of a number of ex-pats from the blues and jazz field. After a great deal of traveling throughout the continent, Boyd settled in Finland, married a local woman and lived there for the rest of his life. His last recordings were of religious music in the early nineties. Eddie Boyd died in Helsinki, Finland, in July of 1994. One of a number of pure blues artists up from the South settling in Chicago, Boyd is represented by a number of CD recordings that are available. We are fortunate that these sounds of a true American master are preserved for us to enjoy again.

Complete Blue Horizon Sessions : From Sony, some later recordings by Boyd (18 tracks)

Eddy Boyd & His Blues Band : From Gott Discs, originally recorded in 1967 with some members of the original Fleetwood Mac (16 tracks)

79036 South Rhodes : From Beat Goes On in 2001. 12 tracks again with members of Fleetwood Mac in the late seventies

Sonet Blues Story : From Verve in 2006 recorded in Finland

and the following two CDs that are the pick of lot -

Eddie Boyd : Complete Recordings 1947-1950 from epn Musique 21 - tracks

Eddie Boyd : Complete Recordings VOl. 2 - 1951-1953 from epn Musique - 23 tracks

 

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