Eddie Bo / Sept 20, 1930 - March 18, 2009

One of the New Orleans iconic producers, Edwin Bocage aka Eddie Bo brought a harder, grittier sound to the Crescent City in the '60s & '70s funk world. With his awesome drummer James Black and a stable of ripping vocalists, he cut several classics and remains a local legend. Himself a soulful singer and pianist, he composed, arranged and produced some great R&B, blues and funk over a long career in which he became one of the city's most prolific artists.

His family were builders and masons, as well as early NOLA jazz musicians. Bo's influences also include bebop and classical. In his 20s he formed a group that went on the road backing name musicians such as Lloyd Price, Smiley Lewis, Earl King, Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner and others. At home in NOLA he released a bunch of singles starting in '55 on various labels, big or small (or his own): Ace, Chess, Apollo, Swan, Capitol, Seven B (where he was the main man) among many others.

He recorded under various names (how about that classic Roger & the Gypsies "Pass The Hatchet"? Bo.) to limited national success. He produced several artists: Art Neville, Irma Thomas, Chuck Carbo, Johnny Adams, Chris Kenner and others. "Hook & Sling" ('69) was Bo's biggest hit under his own name and quickly hit again with "Check Your Bucket" for his own Bo-Sound label.

The '70s saw him more focused on his carpentry skills, even building recording studios on hire. He released a couple of albums on his own label and worked with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Willy DeVille and The Louisiana Legends in the '80s & '90s. He opened his own cafe/music venue and helped repair damaged structures from Hurricane Katrina. His career was very much rooted in New Orleans but he was able to tour North America, Europe and even Pakistan.

Tagged: Celebrate Icons, Eddie Bo, James Black, NOLA, piano, soul!, soul/funk

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