Eddie Floyd with Tony Fletcher – Knock! Knock! Knock! On Wood – My Life in Soul
Despite some redundant words — many “ands,” a few “at the time,” references, as I got deeper into the text it was apparent how well legendary soul singer Eddie Floyd tells his story. His “voice” clearly comes through & his musical recollections — sharp with colorful anecdotes.
A consistent & versatile artist, with as many as 20 chart hits (“Knock on Wood,” “634-5789,” “Raise Your Hand,” & Big Bird,”) among others Eddie tirelessly recounts how the songs developed & the histrionics of his process.
Floyd rides the caboose as one of the last survivors of the 60s soul train that created timeless music at Stax Studios (1966 to 1975) until its closing.
Publisher BMG drops Aug. 11th a beautiful 302-page 6 x 9 hardcover is co-written with Tony Fletcher. It includes 16 color pages. Unfortunately, no detailed discography. It’s an easy read & to use a cliché: “it’s hard to put down.”
Floyd describes a 3-year stretch in a reform school, early Detroit songwriter years, the differences between Stax & Motown, work with Steve Cropper, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones, Jerry Wexler, a few lines about Ella Fitzgerald who covered one of his songs. How B-sides became hits in foreign countries.
His lifelong cobblestoned friendship/rivalry with Wilson Pickett is scattered throughout & working with Otis Redding. His role in the rise of Lynyrd Skynyrd. What led to Stax Records’ demise. Playing with the Blues Brothers, Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings & European tours.
What’s refreshing? No politics, controversies, or venom. It’s all insightful moments in the era’s history — the early Drifters, some music names lost to history & humble about his songwriting since he admits he didn’t know he was doing something special. He confesses that major labels had plush studios, big orchestras – but they’d dictate how things would go. Obviously, unlike Stax, where the music wasn’t dictated by accountants & lawyers – it was from sweat stirred in with magic & what Eddie calls – a form of accident.
Criticism? The long fluffy LP titles. Strong short LP titles work: Hot Buttered Soul, Soul Street, To the Bone, Down to Earth – excellent. But some were long & syrupy. “Eddie Loves You So,” & “Gotta Make a Comeback,” – this had to be record company choices. If an LP needed an upbeat title “I Got a Reason to Smile” works. How about “Pretty Boy Floyd,” (that would’ve raised a wry smile among fans).
But Ed’s contribution to the sizzle in soul music is immeasurable.
I worked in NYC years ago — a young black mother’s 6-year-old daughter visited me singing a song she learned from a TV show. Her Mom asked if I knew the song. She didn’t. It was “Build Me Up, Buttercup,” by The Foundations. This was decades older than her daughter. Yet it clicked in her little heart. That’s why it’s called soul music.
That’s what Eddie Floyd did. It’s still summer & never too late to get some soul. Knock on wood.
Available at Amazon. Website: https://staxrecords.com/artist/eddie-floyd/