|Country Of origin:||United States of America|
Soul shouter Chuck Edwards was born Charles Edward Edwins in Philadelphia on November 29, 1927. According to online funk e-zine Funky 16 Corners, he began playing guitar professionally during the late '40s, and made his recorded debut on the Sonny Thompson Band's "Harlem Rug Cutter." Credited as Charles Edwins & His Orchestra, he made his headlining debut for Duke with 1953's "I Got Loose" before assuming the name Chuck Edwards for subsequent efforts, including "If You Love Me (Like You Say You Do)" and "You Move Me." Moving with each successive release from his formative smooth blues sound to a grittier R&B approach, Edwards frequently changed labels, following 1956's Apollo effort "Just for a Day" with 1959's Alanna single "Lucy and Jimmy Got Married," backed on the latter by the Five Crowns (featuring a then-unknown Ben E. King).
None of these records made any kind of commercial impact, however, and by the early '60s Edwards was living in the Pittsburgh suburb of Canonsburg and working in a steel mill; he ultimately saved up enough money to found his own label, Rene (named for his wife, Irene), cutting his own sides as well as lending his unique guitar to back other artists. Edwards' headlining sides from his mid-'60s Rene period include "Shake Baby Shake" and "I Don't Want No Company," each honing a distinctive sound marrying Edwards' gritty vocals and incendiary guitar with backing performances as raw and energetic as anything coming out of garages in Anytown U.S.A. In late 1965 he issued the rocking "Bullfight," a huge local hit picked up for national release on Roulette and a Pittsburgh oldies radio favorite to this day. "Bullfight No. 2," issued in 1966, added a funky Hammond organ to the reworked original. Issued on the Rene subsidiary Punch, 1967's "Downtown Soulsville" remains Edwards' masterpiece -- boasting a truly wild vocal and some brilliantly funky guitar, the record was not a national hit but immediately captured the imagination of die-hard soul and funk aficionados, with a reissue on U.K. tastemaker Dave Godin's Soul City label and an appearance on the 1969 compilation Soul from the City.
Also in 1967, Edwards recorded "Sweet Sweet Love" for major label Kapp -- the circumstances of the recording are not known, but the single was not a hit and he seemed to drop from sight for several years, relocating his family to the San Francisco area around 1972. The family unit soon began performing and recording as a group dubbed the Edwards Generation, releasing the single "School Is In" on Ghetto and the full-length The Street Thang on Tight. The Edwards Generation even appeared on television's The Mike Douglas Show. He continued performing during the decades to follow, resurfacing in 1994 with Back Again, a collection of new material and re-recorded classics. ~ Jason Ankeny~ Rovi