Posted by Oteil Burbridge on February 7, 2014 Recording with King Edward Antoine
A producer from San Francisco named Brian Brinkerhoff, whom I’ve worked with on various recording sessions over the last few years, called one day and asked me if I’d ever heard of a bluesman named King Edward; I had to admit that I wasn’t familiar with him. Brinkerhoff is one of those true music fanatics that loves to find sonic gems that most people miss so I wasn’t surprised that he stumped me yet again. King Edward was originally born in Louisiana but also did 15 years in Chicago starting in 1961 where he played the legendary Checkerboard Lounge and Theresa’s Lounge. He moved to Jackson Mississippi around 1975 and worked for Malaco records and immersed himself in the live scene. I was excited to just hang out with a real Mississippi blues man of that era, King is almost 80 years old. From the first second that I met him I knew it was gonna be special. I was surprised by his vocal range and energy on the guitar. It’s gonna take a lot of yoga and healthy eating for me to be able to function like that at his age. I’m sure he has partaken of neither of those things but remains stout from his core. It seems he was made tougher by both genetics and experience. His positive attitude and joy was infectious. Luckily I had a direct sight line to him through the window of the booth he was in. It was great to be able to make eye contact with him when the grooves started to build. He didn’t have expensive vintage guitars but the second his fingers made contact with the strings it sounded like voices from the past speaking clearly in the present. His two axes were a Memphis semi hollow and a Peavey solid body. That sound is just in his hands. All you could do was shake your head when that classic sound is being generated right in front of you. How fitting that we were recording King Edward at The Castle recording studios in Nashville. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
The session was documented by photographer John Gellman. His photos can be viewed here: http://www.jgphoto.com/
Stay tuned for details on the record’s release!