Shreveport Loses Another Local Legend
Stax Records may be one of my favorite record labels of all time. For those that don't know, Stax specialized in Southern Soul and blues music. Artists like Otis Redding and the Staples singles were mainstays for the Stax brand during their battle with Motown Records. When I go to a record store and see the Stax logo, I buy it whether I know the artist or not.
I tell you all that to tell you this: I just found out recently that one of Stax artists Eddie Giles wasn't some nameless, faceless guy that put out one REALLY good 45 single and B side, he was a Shreveport guy that has been influencing and helping our community for decades.
I've seen the name Dr. Eddie Giles here and there around town but never connected the dots that the local religious leader and the soul singer were one in the same. It never occurred to me that the 'radio pastor' from KOKA and singer of 'Losing Boy' were the same guy.
Now, I could focus on his musical career and how great he was...but that would be doing the Reverend a great disservice. He founded The Shepherd’s Farm, a nonprofit organization, that assisted underserved children in our area.
He also is the founder of the National Angels of the Air Ways Connection, and is the former Assistant Board Chairman of the National Singing Quartet Convention of America. He was the first African American to serve as a board member of Local 116 of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Municipal Auditorium, and numerous other organizations.
I mean, his list of accomplishments and influence outside the musical sphere are much greater than anything he put down on wax in the 60s. But, with that said, his music was fantastic!
Here's his write up on the Stax Records website:
I met Eddie at Sound City studio in Shreveport, Louisiana. This is where the recording of Losin' Boy that is on Stax 0103 was recorded. The year was 1971. I engineered the record. James Stroud played drums and Louis Villery played bass. Eddie is now a famous Nashville producer. He had been with Bobby Bland for years-not sure where he is today. There was an earlier recording of Losin' Boy (mid to late 60's) produced by a gentleman named Mr. DesMarais. He owned a small record shop in Cedar Grove ( a section of Shreveport) I think it was called "Bayou Records" (no connection to our studio). It was said that Mr. DesMarais would bring local bands (mostly black) into a small recording studio behind his record shop and let them record their songs. He would sometimes put out records on them, such as Losin' Boy by Eddie Giles. Eddie was known then as "Eddie G and the Jive Five". We didn't meet Eddie at Sound City until approximately five years after Mr. DesMarais had recorded the first Losin' Boy. These are the only two versions I know of. First the Mr. DesMarais recording (on Murco Records in Cedar Grove, Louisiana) and then the Sound City recording which later became the Stax version.
Dr. Giles the Preacher and Eddie the singer spent their lives trying to help our community. Whether it be by saving souls or recording records.