We here at the ‘Tales From The Woods’ editorial board also raise a glass to record label owner/ producer and musician Eddie Shuler who died on 23rd July 2005 aged 92.
No trip down deep in the southern states would have been complete without a visit to that tiny, shambolic recording studio, Goldband Records of Lake Charles, Louisiana and its off-centre owner Eddie Shuler. Inside this studio where so much roots music history has been made, Eddie picked up a three feet or so piece of bamboo stick, and waved it in the air. “This is what I used,” he said with a sly grin directed at the dozen or so pilgrims from England on one of our many Southern Tours. “If I thought they weren’t putting enough soul into it, I hit the singer across the back of the legs with it. I made sure he felt the pain in his soul!”
Eddie, like his studio, was a uniquely preserved anachronism from a bygone age; battered instruments, antiquated microphones, scattered record racks, even old television sets yet, despite the chaos, Eddie had built up a recorded catalogue of around 10,000 titles. Amongst them sides by Cookie and the Cupcakes, Cajun accordionist Iry LeJune, Boozoo Chavis, who at Goldband recorded one of the first commercially available Zydeco records ‘Paper In My Shoe’, Cleveland Crochet hit the Billboard Hot 100 charts with the Shuler produced ‘Sugar Bee’, the Hackberry Ramblers (of which Eddie had once been a member) recorded for Goldband as did a 13 year old Dolly Parton. Rockabillies Al Ferrier and Johnny Jano to name but two recorded at Goldband as did Rockin' Sidney and Larry Hart… and so the list goes on.
Eddie Shuler was born on the 27th February 1913 of German-Irish descent in Wrightsboro, Texas, moving to Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1942 to work at an oil refinery. In his spare time he played with the legendary Hackberry Ramblers. Three years later he formed his own hillbilly band Eddie Shuler and his All Star Revellers, playing dance halls across Texas and Louisiana. In 1949 he set up Goldband to record the acclaimed, almost blind accordionist Iry LeJune. The tracks recorded have come to be regarded as classics of the genre. Other examples that come pretty close to the LeJune recordings are those by Lionel Cormier and Aldus Roger.
Shuler also arranged and produced ‘Sea Of Love’ by the black swamp pop artist Phil Phillips for his fellow Lake Charles record label owner George Khoudy. The song was covered in the UK by Marty Wilde, hitting number two on the Brit charts and eventually becoming a million seller. Although Shuler’s activities slowed in later decades much of Goldband’s back catalogue was leased out and released on CD.
L L L L