June 25: Eddie Floyd is 79 Happy Birthday

eddie-floyd

.. a workmanlike singer and a very accomplished songwriter, who showed occasional flashes of brilliance.
~The Rough Guide to Soul and R&B

“…I’d had nothing directly to do with Motown while I’d been in Detroit, I’d still been around a lotta their artists and seen from a distance how they did things. And so, when I eventually got to Memphis, I could see that it was pretty much the SAME – you know, musicians getting together producing music, with everybody in the same groove… So yeah, working at Stax was very easy, because everybody was open-minded. You know, Al and I first met (legendary MGs guitarist) Steve Cropper at the same time we met Jim Stewart. So what would happen is, Cropper and I would more or less go off to the hotel, sit down and talk about music – and BOOM, almost immediately we’d WRITE something! While Al Bell and Jim Stewart would go off and talk about music and BUSINESS… So yeah, that’s the way it started – and it just moved on from THERE! I later went on to write with Booker T., which was great too. You know, Stax was all about TEAM-work. Like if an artist was recording and needing backing singers, I’d go and sing on THEIR record, and in turn they’d sing on MINE! That’s just the way we DID things.”
– Eddie Floyd (Blues&Soul.com, issue 1067)

Raise Your Hand – Live in Oslo 1967:

From Wikipedia:

Eddie Lee Floyd (born June 25, 1937) is an American soul/R&B singer and songwriter, best known for his work on the Stax record label in the 1960s and 1970s and the song “Knock on Wood”.

….  Floyd signed on with the Memphis based Stax Records as a songwriter in 1965. He wrote a hit song, “Comfort Me” recorded by Carla Thomas. He then teamed with Stax’s guitarist Steve Cropper to write songs for Wilson Pickett, now signed to Atlantic Records. Atlantic distributed Stax and Jerry Wexler brought Pickett down from New York to work with Booker T. & the MGs. The Pickett sessions were successful, yielding several pop and R&B hits, including the Floyd co-written “Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)” and “634-5789 (Soulsville USA)”.

eddie floyd poster

 

In 1966, Floyd recorded a song intended for Otis Redding. Wexler convinced Stax president Jim Stewart to release Floyd’s version. The Steve Cropper/Eddie Floyd “Knock On Wood” launched Floyd’s solo career, and has been cut by over a hundred different artists from David Bowie to Count Basie. It became a disco hit for Amii Stewart in 1979.

Floyd was one of Stax’s most consistent and versatile artists. He scored several more hits on his own, including “I Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)” and “Raise Your Hand”, which was covered by both Janis Joplin and Bruce Springsteen.

Knock On Wood – A Celebration Of Blues And Soul:
Eddie Floyd performs “Knock On Wood” live at the Washington Convention Center for the Presidential Inaugural Concert in 1989.

Album of the day, the great 2008 album, Eddie Loves You:

– Egil & Hallgeir