Hardin Guion Des Marais, who called himself Dee Marais, was born in Minnesota but moved to Louisiana in the 50s. He settled in Shreveport where he started a career in the music business, starting the Recco label and buying the Bayou Record Shop on 70th Street in Shreveport from Shelby Singleton. To soul fans he is best known for his revival of the Murco label in the 60s, a concern which had had some rockabilly releases in the 50s. By far the most successful of Marais’ artists was Elbert Wiggins “Eddy” or "Eddie" Giles, who was born in March 17th 1938 near Shreveport, where has remained for all of his life.
He sang in local gospel groups like the Pilgrim Jubilees Humming Bees in his youth and he and Marais knew each other from the late 50s. However it wasn’t until 1967 that Eddy agreed to make a secular recording, but it was well worth the wait. “Losing Boy” was cut at the Robin Hood Brian’s studio just across the state line in Tyler, Texas and it sold very well straight away from release. It’s lively rhythm and approach really caught the ear of the buying public, with the Dallas area alone accounting for 10,000 sales, and it registered for 5 weeks on the Cashbox hot 100 in the spring. Eddy had a further 6 45s on Murco over the next couple of years but without hitting the sales highlight of the first release.
The follow-up “Don’t Let Me Suffer” was rather too similar to the hit for inclusion here. But the flip While I’m Away (Baby Keep The Faith), another of those Soul In Vietnam songs, was a fine ballad, given greater weight by the delicious extra vocal by Charles Brown and a sparse horn section. This track was also used as the flip to the disappointing "Eddy's Go Go Train” a few months later. But for deep soul fans Eddy’s next release Happy Man was his best yet, with a really committed vocal over a classic chord progression and a soulful organ. “Love With A Feeling” carried on the mood, after a splendidly sanctified opening, and had a lovely bluesy feel to the horns. His next 45 “Soulful Feeling” was a rather messy funk item, but in the strutting southern groove of “Ain’t Gonna Worry No More” Eddy was right back to peak form.
His final 45 for Dee Marais coupled the O V Wright deep soul standard That’s How Strong My Love Is, a staple of his stage show, with the upbeat “So Deep In Love”. This was cut at Shreveport’s premier studio Sound City but after a short lived Murco release, Dee leased the masters to Shelby Singleton, who in turn placed them with Leland Rogers’ Silver Fox concern in the summer of 1969.self pity of the lyric. The ballad has one of Eddy’s very best vocals on it, and the ad-libbed run-out groove where he really cuts loose is simply superb.
Eddy joined the Bobby Patterson/Jerry Strickland partnership, and recorded enough material at the local Sound City studios for an LP. One 45, a recut of “Losing Boy” and a typically humorous “It Takes Me All Night” was leased to Stax, and a second came out on Alarm, the label they owned with Stewart Madison. This was the superb ballad Married Lady and an excellent cheating number “Are You Living With The One You’re Loving With”, which also gained a UK release on Hit And Run. Although the other cuts from the period were never issued in the US, several featured on the quite brilliant Japanese LP “I’m A Losing Boy” at the end of the decade. This album also featured a few cuts Eddy made for Allen Orange’s House Of Orange concern around 73/4 but which remained in the can as well. The best of these was another wonderful deep cut entitled I Can’t Get Over You which has the same feel, and almost the same impact, as his friend and stablemate Reuben Bell’s heartfelt “Asking For The Truth”. Despite so many other outstanding efforts I’d say this track was Giles’ finest hour.
Eddy’s final secular recordings were a 45 for another local label Custom Sound in 1977. One side “Sexy Lady” has had plays on the modern scene and is now well sought after. Since then Eddy has returned to the church as a pastor in Shreveport, and also acts as a gospel DJ on the local KOKA station. He enjoyed his time in the soul limelight and remains grateful to Marais for his career as a solo artist, but is adamant that he won’t cut any more non-Christian material. Our loss is the church’s gain.
Losin’ boy / I got the blues ~ MURCO 1031 (1966)
Don’t let me suffer / While I’m away (Baby Keep The Faith) ~ MURCO 1033 (1967)
Music / Happy man ~ MURCO 1037 (1968)
Love with a feeling / Baby be mine ~ MURCO 1042 (1969)
Soul feeling / Pt 2 ~ MURCO 1048 (1969)
Tinglin’ / Ain’t gonna worry no more ~ MURCO 1053 (1969/70)
That’s how strong my love is / So deep in love ~ SILVER FOX 9 (1970)
Losin’ boy / It Takes me all night ~ STAX 0103 (1971)
Married lady / Are you living with the one you’re loving with ~ ALARM 106 (1973)
Sexy lady / Jelly roll ~ CUSTOM SOUND 201 (1977)
I’m a losing boy ~ VIVID SOUND 1015 (1979)
Note ~ The best of Eddy’s Murco tracks can be found on the Kent UK CD “Shreveport Southern Soul” and pretty much everything else he cut can be found on the Soulscape CD “Sound City Soul Brothers” CD. Buy it.