BIG BOY MYLES
Born Edgar Earl Myles, jr., 11 March 1933, New Orleans, Louisiana
Edgar "Big Boy" Myles started his musical career in 1950 as a member of the Sha-Weez (later Sha-Wees), a nine-piece outfit from New Orleans, led by James "Sugar Boy" Crawford. Myles was one of the group's three vocalists and also played trombone. Dave Bartholomew, who was briefly doing productions for Aladdin Records (apart from his job for Imperial) signed the group to a recording contract and took them into Cosimo's Studio on November 23, 1952. Four titles were recorded during this first and also last session for Aladdin. James Crawford was supposed to do the lead vocals, but he showed up hoarse from the previous night's gig and as a result Edgar Myles was forced to do most of the vocals on the session. Only two of the four titles were released ("No One To Love Me"/ "Early Sunday Morning", Aladdin 3170), in December 1952. The single flopped, but now sells in the thousand dollar range because of its rarity.
While still contracted to Aladdin, Crawford and Myles began to record for Chess in the autumn of 1953. Leonard Chess put their rehearsal tape out as a Checker single ("Overboard"/"I Don't Know What I'll Do") and after a regular contract had been signed, two further Checker 45s were released in 1954, all credited to Sugar Boy and his Cane Cutters. "Jock-A-Mo" (aka "Iko Iko") just missed the national R&B charts, but is now rightly considered as a classic.
By 1955 Myles had joined Li'l Millet and the Creoles, where he played the trombone. They were discovered and signed to Specialty Records by Bumps Blackwell, who also signed Big Boy Myles as a singer in his own right. Myles' two Specialty singles rock in rare fashion. "Who's Been Fooling You", credited to Big Boy Myles and the Shaw-Wees (Specialty 564), sounds almost more like Professor Longhair than Longhair's own version, with terrific piano licks by Edgar's brother, Warren Myles. Sales were disappointing, though, and more than a year went by before Big Boy returned to the Specialty (or rather, Cosimo's) studio, to record "Hickory Dickory Dock" (not the same song that Etta James later recorded) and "Just To Hold My Hand", this time backed by such luminaries as Lee Allen, Red Tyler, Edgar Blanchard and Earl Palmer. This single (Specialty 590) was also a commercial failure, but a poppy cover of "Just To Hold My Hand" by Clyde McPhatter went to # 26 on the pop charts and # 6 R&B in the spring of 1957.
In 1960, Myles returned to the record scene with the original version of "New Orleans" (Ace 605). It lacks the excitement of the Gary U.S. Bonds hit version, but this comparison is not quite fair, I suppose. Taken on its own terms, the Big Boy Myles version isn't bad at all. A second Ace single, "Oh Mary"/"Who Can I Turn To", saw the light in 1961, followed by a solitary release on V-Tone, but after that Big Boy disappeared from view. Sugar Boy Crawford says that he never saw Myles from the time he left for New York until his death in 1984.
More info: http://home.att.net/~marvart/Shaweez/shaweez.html
Most of the tracks mentioned above have been reissued on CD, but all on different compilations.
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