Monday, April 23, 2007

Play it cool, man, play it cool

Tibby Edwards recorded a dozen singles for Mercury records in the mid-50’s. The ones I’ve heard are really good. Bear Family Records put together a compilation LP in the 90’s but I’ve never seen a copy.

Tibby (short for Thibodaux) Edwards was from Louisiana and started playing guitar and writing songs in his teens. When Edwards was 16, he met Lefty Frizzell. The two musicians hit it off and Edwards was soon touring and singing with Frizzell. In 1952 17-year-old Edwards got a steady gig at Louisiana Hayride and settled in Beaumont, Texas. While he was living there, Tibby started playing with another Beaumont-based singer, George Jones.

J.D. Miller arranged for Edwards to go to Nashville to audition for Mercury Records in 1953. Over the next five years, Edwards recorded a dozen singles for Mercury and Starday Records. Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer played on the records, as well as members of Hank William's Drifting Cowboys. Edwards recorded a great versions of a George Jones song called “Play It Cool Man, Play It Cool” in 1956. The flipside - "Shift Gears" - is also a great song.

In 1958, Edwards joined the army. He was inducted the same week as another Hayride performer, Elvis Presley.

I don’t know what happened after that. I don’t think Edwards made any more records (under his own name anyway). I’m not sure if he’s alive or dead. It’s rumored that he died of cancer in the 90’s. Maybe right around the time I found his records at the flea market.


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