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Stax Legends 4: Eddie Floyd

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“It’s like thunder, lightning…the way you love me is frightening.” Those magic words could only signify one record, the indelible soul classic ‘Knock On Wood.’ The 1966 hit kicks off our latest audio profile in uDiscover’s five-part Stax Legends series, this time on another of the label’s greatest artists, and the man who co-wrote and recorded the original of that much-covered tune, Eddie Floyd.

Speaking to Paul Sexton while the Stax caravan was in London for the Prom concert staged at the Royal Albert Hall in late summer, Floyd — now a distinguished-looking octogenarian — was in urbane and sparkling form as he talked about his great career, in which he made his first recordings in 1956. He describes his early days with the great doo-wop outfit the Falcons, and how their ranks also included Mack Rice and, later, Wilson Pickett. Rice became the highly noted songwriter of such songs as Pickett’s ‘Mustang Sally.’

Floyd riffs about the enduring appeal of ‘Knock On Wood’ and the myriad versions of the song he co-wrote with another of the stars of our series, Steve Cropper. In particular, he recalls the rendition cut by Eric Clapton for his 1985 album Behind The Sun, with an amusing tale about the fellow Stax man who played on that reading.

He also reminisces about the famed Stax tour of the UK and Europe in 1967 and how, at that time, not only had ‘Knock On Wood’ just been a hit, but he was in the UK charts with the follow-up, ‘Raise Your Hand.’ From that tour, we’ll hear a clip of Floyd’s live performance of another of his trademark songs, ‘I Don’t Want To Cry.’

There’s also the poignant story of how Eddie heard the news of the death of his friend Otis Redding, and why he was unable to get home for his funeral — but then created something positive from tragedy by writing the song ‘Big Bird,’ another of his much-admired trademarks, with Booker T. Jones. All that, plus excerpts from some more of his best-known hits, including ‘I’ve Never Found A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)’ and ‘Bring It On Home To Me.’

Listen to the Stax Legends episodes on Booker TSteve Cropper and William Bell, and purchase the 3-CD Soulsville USA compilation here.

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