Thursday, November 24, 2011

Goldband Records: The Early Years (UPDATE)


Eddie Shuler outside of Goldband Studio, 2001.

Note: This is a revised, expanded, and corrected version of the original article (date of update: Nov. 29, 2011).

For most people, the history of Goldband either begins with Iry LeJeune's arrival around 1948, or Al Ferrier's seven years later. The murky early days of the label have always been the least documented. Goldband initially served mostly as a vanity label for Eddie Shuler and his western band, the Reveliers -- an excellent group that went toe-to-toe with Cliff Bruner, Leo Soileau, Harry Choates, the Hackberry Ramblers, and the other top Gulf Coast swing bands of the time. Many of Eddie's singles are solid western swing, Cajun, and country efforts comparable to anything else coming out in those genres at the time. A comprehensive reissue CD is overdue.

There has been a great deal of confusion about when Shuler started Goldband. The earliest print reference to the label was in Billboard in January, 1948; the first Goldband single to be reviewed there was "I Never Want a Sweetheart" in November, 1950 (his 11th release). Clearly Billboard is of no help to us. But even an expert like John Broven has been confused about this, stating in his book South to Louisiana that Eddie brought out the Folk-Star label first, in 1949, and Goldband a little later. This is certainly incorrect, but Shuler himself probably led Broven to believe this, since most of his early releases were poor sellers that no one noticed at the time, and later collectors never asked about. Alain "Ding Dong" Pourquier wrote matter of factly in the notes to the Charly Goldband reissues of the late 1980s that Shuler first recorded in December, 1944 and that the record was issued in January of the new year. This is closer to the actual date, but still contentious. Shuler states in the interview below that he was still playing with the Hackberry Ramblers at the close of World War II, not starting his own band and recording until late 1945. This seems more probable, though definitive proof from a contemporary source continues to elude us. Regardless, it was probably the first independent label to open shop in Louisiana. Folk-Star came along later, about 1948-49.

Most of the early sessions were recorded at either KPLC or KAOK radio stations in Lake Charles. Eddie also intimates that he cut some sessions at his first music store at 830 Broad Street ("I cut a lot of records in the back of that building"), though it isn't clear if these were demos or final masters. He moved into an abandoned church at 313 Church Street sometime around 1952 and it was at this location where most of the Goldband sessions remembered today were cut.

Eddie Shuler was a friendly, approachable man who always had time to talk to enthusiasts about the old days. Though occasionally prone to exaggeration, his memory remained sharp right up to the end. My goal with this interview was to focus as much as possible on the 1945-1955 period, and try to draw out more details on his band leading days, who played in his bands, etc. I only half-succeeded in this, because I had a highly incomplete discography to go by, and virtually none of the original music to play for him. Now, thanks to Al Turner and Dave Sax, I have both of those things, but Eddie is no longer around to ask, having died in 2005. Such is life.

This interview was recorded on April 10, 2001.


Eddie, you were born in Wrightsboro, Texas...where is that?
It’s about 70 miles east of San Antonio...kind of southeast of San Antonio. I lived there ‘til I was 7 years old, then we moved, and then we just constantly moved from there on out until we wound up in Luling.I spent most of my teen years there. And from there we moved to Dallas. And that’s...’course, all my life, I’ve written songs. But in Dallas, I got involved in the construction business -- dragline operator. I saw them things, and I thought, well, that’s the only thing I want to do. Run one of them things, y’know. I did that until I got old enough to chase the girls. And then I found out there was something better than dragline: girls. (Laughs)

Now, I didn’t get your date of birth.
March 27, 1913.

So you were in Dallas from, say, the early thirties until the early forties, or --
I was there ‘til 1941.

You mentioned that you started writing songs while in Dallas. Did you have any interest in bands during that period...
No, I never did want to be a musician. My brother played in a band. They made three dollars a night, and I said, My god, to work all that time, just to stand up there to play an instrument and sing, that’s crazy, I ain’t about to do nothing like that.

Did he play in a string band, or --
Yeah, he played in a string band.

Did you see any of the big groups in that area play, like the Light Crust Doughboys?
No. Well, I saw ‘em, but it was always at a distance. Milton Brown and the Musical Brownies, that was one of my idols there.

Did you see them play?
Yeah. That was really a treat. That was somewhere south of Fort Worth, I don’t know just exactly where. It was in that region, anyway. The music was terrific, y’know. Now, I really liked that stuff. (Laughs) I thought that was the stuff, y’know?

And then, of course, I like orchestras too, liked a lot of orchestra music. But the kind of songs I liked...there was a thing called “Intermezzo,” and ‘course “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” and all that kind of stuff –

Pop music.
Pop music...I was in love with that stuff too. I just liked everything. There was nothing I don’t think I didn’t like, as long as it was musical. Like I said, I wrote songs, and always dreamed of someday getting my songs recorded by somebody.

Now, while you were in Dallas, did you try promoting your songs, or pitching them to any bands or musicians?
No, because I couldn’t play no kind of instrument, and I thought that was kind of stupid, to get up there and sing when you don’t play no kind of an instrument...I had enough sense to understand that part of it.

So you hadn’t even started playing guitar at this point?
No. I never started playing guitar ‘til I moved to Louisiana from Fort Worth.

So, you moved from Dallas to Fort Worth, and then Louisiana. What prompted the move to Lake Charles?
Defense work. I got into the union business. I was a dragline and crane operator, so that gave me special status. I came into Lake Charles because they was building all these plants here.

Now, was this 1941 or ‘42? Because John Broven’s book (South to Louisiana) cites the year as ‘42.
That was ‘41. I started in the music business in 1944. At that point in time, that was after my stint with the Hackberry Ramblers, I decided that I’d make a record. So I went to New Orleans, found a studio down there. The guy (was) upstairs on Canal Street there, the place is still there but it’s changed names about 50 times I guess. But I went up there, cut my record in that place.



Eddie inside the Goldband control room, holding a copy of Guitar Junior's "Family Rules." Note the Ampex 350 in the foreground.


That wasn’t Cosimo’s Studio, was it?
Oh, that was way before Cosimo.

Actually, I think he started in about ‘46.
He did, huh?

Yeah. But it was prior to him?
Oh, yeah. (Note: This may have been the National Radio Recording Studio, in the Godchaux Building on Canal Street.)

So that’s where you made Broken Love/Is There Room In Your Heart For Me Darlin’?
Yes.

Do you recall who was playing on that? Who was in the original Reveliers?
Had a guy named Johnny Babb...Johnny Porter...and a fellow named Johnny Reems, I believe was his name. He was the saxophone player. Johnny Porter was a fiddle player, but he was one of those super violin players. I mean, that cat could play some violin. But them people, they sort of turned me off a little bit, because after you got through playing the job, they’d all go out, booze it up and jam ‘til 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning. Then they’d go sleep a couple of hours, and then start all over again. I said, well, hell, that’s not to my interest at all...

You still had your day job as a dragline operator...you couldn’t keep those kind of hours.
No.

Now, before we continue with that, let’s talk a little about the Hackberry Ramblers. How did you become involved with them?
Well, they decided...I was working in this music store to help pay off my guitar. I made $3.37 an hour for the dragline operating, which was quite a bit of money, because laborers made 50 cents an hour. They had a record cutting machine (at this store) so they could cut an acetate. I learned how to run it.

So, the Hackberry Ramblers...I rode to work with ‘em. That was the ironic part. You’d only get so much gas a week, so we’d have to change cars every other day, get in somebody else’s car...so that’s how I wound up riding with them one of the days.



The Hackberry Ramblers with Eddie, c. 1944.


So you knew them from your day job?
Yeah. So they started talking about re-grouping, and going back and making some more music.

They had broken up prior to that.
Oh, yeah. They’d been out of business, oh, I’d say about four years. And so, I said, "Well, I’d like to cut a disc on y’all." And they said, well, we’ve been wanting to do that. I said, well, I can do that. So after we got involved with that, I said "I write songs," and of course I’m taking guitar lessons at that point in time...I’m not good at it, I’m taking lessons, though. I’d go to a music teacher, and she sits there and clinks, clinks, clinks all day long, and I still don’t know more when I left than I did when I started.

But I told them, I’d like for you to learn a couple of my songs, and then we can cut them on a disc. They said, why sure...while we’re practicing, we’ll learn yours, and then you can make a record for us, and not charge us as much for cuttin’ our acetate. I said, that’s right.

So, that’s what was going on. That worked for three weeks, but he (the Hackberry Ramblers’ singer) never did know any of the songs. Well, since this was a music store I was working in -- it was the only one in town -- they had all the records. So, I had learned all those songs, ‘cause I was just one of those kind of people...

You worked at this music store part time?
Yeah. After hours.

What was the name?
Johnson’s Music Store. 1400 block of Ryan.

I read in one of your interviews that you opened your own music store with a $250 loan from your mother.
Yes. Well, see, this fella Johnson got drafted. He turned his business over to me. But unknown to me, his wife was an alcoholic. After he left, all of this started coming to the surface. She started taking all the money out of the bank, I couldn’t get none of the stuff I was buying to put back on the shelf...I said, man, this ain’t gonna work. So I got in touch with him in the service, and I told him, "You’re gonna have to do something, because I can’t help you with this place, with your woman taking all of the money, I can’t run it." He said, well, I’m gonna go to my lawyer, and we’re gonna fix it up so you’ll be running it, and you can dole out the money to her. Man, did she ever hate my guts. (Laughter) She finally disappeared into the woodwork with somebody.

So you more or less just took over managing the store?
Oh, yeah. The funny part about it, they’d come in there and ask for things, and I’d tell ‘em we’d sold out. And then I’d run grab the catalogue after they left, and look it up to see what it was.

One guy come in one day and said, "I want a trumpet mute." I said, "We don’t have any more, but we got some on order." He said, "You’re standing right over a whole showcase full of them things." I said, "Oh, that’s what that thing is." (Laughter) I learned what a mute was.

(Note: The 1945 Lake Charles City Directory lists Johnson's Music Store with "E.W. Shuler, Mgr.")

So the store sold instruments as well as records?
Yeah. Pianos...he (the owner) showed me how to sell a piano before he left. And I got so good at the piano business I’d bring ‘em in here in carloads -- used pianos. I’d go up in Minnesota and find those things out there in the woods...I had a buyer that’d buy ‘em for me. I’d put ‘em on a freight car and haul ‘em to Lake Charles, unload ‘em, sell them things...I made him a lot of money selling those pianos. That’s how I salvaged his business and brought it back to snuff.

Getting back to the Hackberry Ramblers...you recorded a disc with them.
Yeah. But the way that happened is, that singer, before he got to where...they found out that I knew all the songs and their singer didn’t know any. He said, well you sing the song and we’ll learn ‘em, then when he learns ‘em we’ll just transfer ‘em into his key. I said Okay, but I’m not a singer. They said, ‘That’s okay, just so you can sing the song...we’ve heard you, we know you can sing alright.’ So, they had me singing. Then this other guy got mad and quit, ‘cause I don’t think he wanted to sing anyway.

Who was that?
A guy named Al Peshaff. He was a good musician and a good guy, he just didn’t want to sing.

So this was recorded on a disc machine at Johnson’s Music?
Yeah. I don’t remember the names (titles). They’re still in my collection, but I never did make a record out of any of ‘em. They didn’t suit me after I learned a little more about it. I said, that’s a little bit too amateurish for me, I’ve gotta do these other things. I had all kinds of ideas, you know.

So the Hackberry Ramblers re-formed around that time.
Yeah, they re-formed, so after this guy left, they decided they was ready to go out and play, so they went and booked a job out there in Creole. And back at that time, they didn’t have no fans, and all they had over the windows was mesh wire. And the mosquitos just loved me. Fresh blood, I guess. I had all kind of trouble with them mosquitos. But we went out there to play the first job, and they had a whole bunch of gals out there. That’s when I found out there was something besides that dragline.

You were still single at this point?
Yeah. So, we went out there and played that thing, and then about three weeks later, we went back. And that time, the girls carried my guitar in there and almost carried me in there, and I said, "Wait a minute, I like this stuff." So that’s how it all started.

So, the Hackberry Ramblers at this point was Luderin Darbone, Lennis Sonnier, Edwin Duhon...
Yeah, and a guy named Boggs or something like that. He played the trumpet.

Lefty Boggs?
Yeah.

How long, approximately, would you say you worked with them? A year? Two years?
About two years, or something like that.

And this was during the war?
It was at the end of the war. It was still goin’ on, but it was winding down.

So it would’ve been 1944, ‘45...
About ‘44.

Now, did you form the All Star Reveliers during the time you played with the Hackberry Ramblers?
No. I decided I wanted to make some records, and I found out this guy out of Houston was a representative of Strauss-Frank, which sold records. RCA records, Bluebird records.

Strauss-Frank?
Yeah. That was a wholesale outfit out of Houston. And so I told him -- without telling the Hackberry Ramblers -- "We’d like to make some records. We’ve made a bunch of records for Bluebird." They’d made 47 records for Bluebird. So, he said, "Let me check it out and see if they want to record some more." ‘Cause they wasn’t recording at that time. So, he come back about two or three weeks later and said, "They really want to cut some records on y’all." I said, "I better go talk to Darbone and tell him about this," but I wanted to make some English records. Of course, all these records they’d made were French. So when I told Darbone about it, he said, "Well, the only records we’ll ever make is French." I said, "Oh?" Well, that’s a slap in the face -- he’s got me up there singing English, and he ain’t gonna make no English records, I don’t belong in this outfit.

Of course, I didn’t know the whole story. See, he’d recorded this song “Wondering” with this guy (Joe Werner), which was a monster record at that time. But this guy, well, right when it started getting real popular he quit him and formed his own band. And Darbone was turned off with English singers.




Ad for Eddie's Music House from the 1946 Lake Charles City Directory.
So, at live shows with the Hackberry Ramblers, you’d sing all the English songs and Darbone would sing the French?
No, Sonnier and Duhon would sing the French stuff.

Luderin would just play the fiddle?
That’s all he ever did.

So, you approached him about recording with Bluebird, and he said, no, I’m not going to do any English songs...
Well, ‘course, he knew what I was wanting to do, make some English records. That’s what I sang. I didn’t sing French. Now, when the French singer didn’t show up for some reason, I’d get up there and sing them French songs. I didn’t know what I was saying. Them Frenchmen would come up there and try to talk French to me...I’d just look at ‘em and grin, y’know. Man, they got mad at me ‘cause they thought I was stuck up ‘cause I didn’t want to talk to ‘em. And there wasn’t no way Darbone could tell ‘em that I couldn’t talk French and didn’t even understand it when I was singing the songs. They couldn’t believe that was anything anybody could do. But I listened to the words, and I could say ‘em just like the other guy had.

So the disagreement over recording English songs -- that’s why you left the Hackberry Ramblers?
Oh, yeah. That’s why I got away from ‘em, because he didn’t want to make no English records. I wanted to make English records -- I’d done got ambitious by that time.

So the deal with Bluebird just fell through?
Yeah. He wanted to make some French records...they probably would have done some English records, but Darbone didn’t want to do that. Anyway, we didn’t do it, and I left...give ‘em my notice and quit, went out and formed my own band, and the rest is history, y’know.

Now, were you still playing with them at the end of the war -- summer of 1945?
Yeah.

Okay. So you didn’t make your first record any earlier than the summer of 1945.
No. I made the record in the latter part of ‘45.

How did find out there was a recording studio in New Orleans?
Down at this music store, they carried The Billboard. I picked up the Billboard and looked all that stuff up. And there was one in New York, and one in New Orleans, so...we went to New Orleans.

Now, your original All-Star Reveliers was more or less a western swing type band...
Yeah. We was into the Bob Wills sound. Oh, we played French music ‘cause I had a French singer. I wasn’t crazy; I wanted that money too.

Who was the singer?
I had a couple of ‘em, but the one who stayed the longest was Norris Savoie. He sang high, higher than a woman, and he played the fiddle.

Did he record with you?
Oh yeah. He recorded “La Valse de Meche.”

So the original band included him, Johnny Porter on fiddle, Johnny Reems on sax...wasn’t Johnny Porter from Texas?
Longview, Texas. The guy was a fantastic musician. And then also in that latter part there, like into the fifties, a steel guitar came along...I had a steel guitar player but he wasn’t all that great. This guy was out of Alabama. Come to find out, he had just left Hank Williams over there...

Oh, Jimmie Webster.
Jimmie Webster, and then he came over here to play with me. I kept him until he decided to go to California. The guy was a fantastic singer -- along with being a good steel guitar player. But he got killed in a car wreck out there.

Is Webster playing on any of your recordings?
I don’t believe so.

Who did he replace, Pee Wee Lyons?
No, he replaced another guy, but I can’t remember his name.

So, the All-Star Reveliers started up in late 1945.
Yeah.



The first Goldband release, probably from 1945.
Why did you begin your numbering system at 1011?
I don’t know. That’s just a number I decided was a good one.

How did you come up with the name Goldband?
Well, I wanted a record that would attract attention. Goldband, that’s like the ring on your finger, and they can relate to that. That’s who we’re gonna be...we’re gonna have music on these records that’s gonna be gold. You know, I’m really ambitious. (Laughter) I’m thinking from a commercial standpoint, too, but I didn’t know at that time anything about no commercial stuff -- I’m just thinking how the public would view it, y’know.

Do you recall where that record was pressed?
Yeah, I pressed it in New York. The worst part about it, the guy that cut the record (master) up there in New York, he cut the tail end of the record off. You know the ‘stop’ part of it, where the music would go to the ending?

Oh, the trail-off groove.
The trail-off. Well see, back in those days, you didn’t have a record that didn’t have an ending. Here I had one that didn’t have no ending. He’s playing along there, and all of a sudden the music just stops.

There wasn’t no radio stations, so I got it on all the jukeboxes. The jukebox operators...well, all them people would go out there wanting to hear the ending, and ‘course there is no ending. And so they’re raising hell ‘cause their jukebox didn’t play the record to the ending...so, they had all kind of trouble. My record was the #1 record on the box, but they was always getting calls. Service calls. So, they had to take my record off of the boxes on account of that no ending business. (Laughs)

So, there was no playing of your records over the air at that time, I take it.
Oh, no. They didn’t play those kinds of records anyway. There was one station here in Lake Charles, there was another station in Baton Rouge, and there was another one in New Orleans. Now, there may have been one in Lafayette, but, to my knowledge, I didn’t know about it. I used to listen to Cliff Bruner coming out of Port Arthur.

Well, it must not have been very long after that that you got a live radio show.
Wasn’t too long, no.

That was probably about ‘47?
Somewhere along in there...the manager of the station (KPLC), I went and asked him to let us play, so he put us on for three days a week. And that’s where I met Iry LeJeune.

See, in the Hackberry Ramblers, they wouldn’t let nobody else get up and sing (i.e., sit in with the band). And I didn’t think that was good, because I wanted to see what everybody else could do. And if they could do something I couldn’t, I wanted to know what it was so I could learn to do it too. So, I wasn’t too happy, because Luderin wouldn’t let nobody get up on the bandstand. So when I got my band, I said that’s the first thing I’m going to do, is let anybody get up there and sing that wants to. So, I got on this radio station, and I had all kinds of people coming up wanting to sing on my show, so I let ‘em sing, y’know? Of course, I did everything fine until Iry LeJeune come along.

How did he approach you?
Well, I looked up one day, saw a guy coming down the street with an old floppy hat on, and a flour sack under his arms...I looked at him and said, My God, what is that? I said, I don’t know what it is, but if you can name it, you can have it.

He was walking toward the radio station, or the record store?
He was walking down there where we was waiting for the time to go on the radio station...on the sidewalk. There was a bar across the street from the radio station. We was waiting outside of the bar, ‘cause I wasn’t a bar patron at all. But some of the rest of ‘em were, y’know.

So when he came up there, he told me who he was, shook hands with me, and (said that he) would like to perform on my radio show. I said, well, okay, what do you play? Well, he pulled his accordion out of the flour sack -- I had never seen one of them, because all of this Cajun music had been with a string band.

So, I said, “What is that?” He said, “That’s a French Accordion.” I said, “Well, okay.” So I put him on the station...Iry got up and sang his three songs. When the show was over, I was walking out the front door...Iry had already gone a while before then. But he had told me before he left (that) he wanted to talk to me about makin’ records, because, see, at that time I had records out. I said, “Come back and catch me some time, and we’ll see about it.” You know, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about making (records of) the kind of music he was making, ‘cause I had never even heard that kind of music.

So you’d heard Cajun songs played on the fiddle for years, but...
Yeah, but not no accordion. Because the accordion was an extinct animal at that point in time. So, that’s why I was kind of reluctant to do it.

But then, when we were leaving the building, the station manager come out of his room in the back -- he had just bought the station -- well, he was a little short fella, about five feet tall, weighed 200 pounds. He was just like a butterball. But he had a voice like a bull. And he said, “Eddie Shuler, you SOB, what in the hell was that you had on our station?” I said, “Mr. Wilson, that man said that was Cajun music. You’ll have to take his word for it, ‘cause I’ve never heard none of that kind of music before.” He said, “Well, if you ever do that again, I’m gonna kick your so-and-so out the front door.” I said, “Yes, sir, Mr. Wilson,” ‘cause I was getting good bookings as a result of my show on the radio. I didn’t want to lose that. So I was very congenial about it. I said, “Oh yes, we’re not going to do that no more.”



And you probably figured that’d be the last time you’d see Iry LeJeune.
Oh yeah. But I told him to come back in about three weeks, and I’d have him an answer -- when he talked about making records. So he came back in three weeks, and said, “What have you thought about it?” I forgot all about it...I looked at him and said, “What are you talking about?” He said, “Making my records.”

I said (to myself), I remember now, I told that guy to come back and I’d tell him whether I’d make some records or not. Well, by that time, I realized that the guy couldn’t see. I kind of felt sorry for him. I said, “Let me tell you what --” On the spur of the moment I decided this. I said, “I’ll make you a record, and if it sells any, you’re in business; if it don’t, you’ll have to find somebody else to make your next records, ‘cause I won’t be around.” He said, “Fair enough. Will you shake on it?” I said sure. So man, he grabbed my arm and we pumped, y’know, and then I went back out to the job, working with the dragline business, and I told these guys, “I told this guy I’d make some records on him, and he insisted I shake hands with him.” They said, “Well, you didn’t shake hands with him?” I said, “Yes I did, what’s wrong with that?” They said, “With a Cajun, that’s a contract.” I said, “Oh my God...I got stuck with this guy. Supposing his record don’t sell?” (Laughter) And I started worrying about that.

How well did Iry speak English?
He could talk English fairly good...but let me tell you what, them Cajuns loved that man. They just worshipped him. He was idolized by Cajun people.

I played on a lot of his records, because he really liked my guitar playing, but the problem I had, I didn’t know when he was changing chords and when he wasn’t changing chords, ‘cause I didn’t understand that stuff that good. But I’d change when I thought it was the right time...

You played live shows with him sometimes...what was that like?
He always had a packed house. I only played with him at a couple of clubs, really, around Lake Charles. But he loved that guitar, because I had a different style...

Did you do all of his recordings at KPLC?
I did it all over the place. His first recording was at KAOK. I’d give the engineer ten dollars to cut me a disc, and then I’d send the disc off to the pressing plant in New York, or...by that time I’d found the Bihari Brothers out there in California.

Oh, they were pressing for you.
They would press some for me.

Now, there was a second Goldband release numbered 1011, and that was Way Down Under Blues b/w I’m Mighty Afraid You’re Wrong. Was that the second release?

I don’t think so. I think there was one called “I Never Want a Sweetheart” before that.

Where you recording these, say from 1946 through 1949? At KPLC, or...
Be honest with you, I don’t remember.

Did you go back to New Orleans?
No, I never went back to New Orleans no more.

So, they were local productions, right?
I bought a disc cutter. Had an engineer here in town named Sylvian Phenic (sp)...he built me a disc recorder. And I’d set that thing out there in the middle of the floor to make my records. Make my discs.

So you were still running Johnson’s Music?
No, no, that was on down past Johnson...well, I might’ve did something while I was there, too. But it was Eddie’s Music House when I was doing that stuff.

(Note: Eddie's Music House may have opened as early as 1945. It is listed in the 1946 Lake Charles City Directory.)



Eddie Shuler's Reveliers at the Sears in Lake Charles, c. 1946. Pee Wee Lyons on steel, Johnny Porter (?) on fiddle. "But them people, they sort of turned me off a little bit, because after you got through playing the job, they’d all go out, booze it up and jam ‘til 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning. Then they’d go sleep a couple of hours, and then start all over again."

Now, when did you open Eddie’s Music House?
I would say in about late ‘45 or ‘46, somewhere along in there. That was on Broad Street.

And was that like Johnson’s, where you sold instruments and records...
Yeah, I had the instruments and records, but I had bought a little shotgun house, and I was fixing radios by that time. I had the radio business wrapped up. ‘Cause I was doing, I called it "Quick Service," and I’d give ‘em quick service. Whereas the other shops would take your radio in, set ‘em on a shelf, and keep ‘em for two or three weeks, and charge ‘em a lot of money. And I said, “Well, hell, I can charge ‘em the same money, and they’ll pay it, and they’ll get their radios right away, ‘cause that’s what they want.” So, that’s what I did.

Were you still working in construction at this point?
Not at that point, no. I was playing music and running the business.

So when you opened the shop on Broad Street is when you started working full time in radio and music...
Yeah. That was about ‘46, ‘47, somewhere along in there.

So, that’s where you would do most of your recording from that period?
Yes. The man who owned this property, he was gonna build me a building there, but he had to move his planes out of here to Baton Rouge or someplace, and the weather got him...it killed him. They found his plane out there between here and Baton Rouge. The heirs sold the property, so then I had to wind up (move) to the end of Broad Street there...I cut a lot of records in the back of that building.

There’s a picture of the Reveliers I’ve seen, it looks like you’re playing at a clothing store or something...
Yeah, that’s Sears. The manager at KPLC took over the management of my band, and he booked me in all those places. He’d sell commercials for the radio station, then book my band in there to perform. And got me other jobs, too.

Did you ever meet Harry Choates, or have any memories of him?
Harry Choates was one of them overnight sensations. He went and cut that “Jole Blon” thing...

I bet you must have sold a lot of those at the store.
Oh yeah, we did. But they were hard to get. They just couldn’t get ‘em in here, they didn’t have nobody that knew how how to distribute them, you know.

I thought Choates was a real good fiddle player. He had a charisma about him that was outstanding.

Now, you recorded a guy named Jimmy Choates...
Yeah, that was later. That was Harry Choates’s cousin. He was also an excellent violin player.

How did you rate Pee Wee Lyons as a musician?
Excellent. He was a real good musician. He’d let his fingernails grow, and they was just like the steel picks you used to pick the strings with on the steel guitar.

It seems like that would make your fingers bleed.
Well, it didn’t seem to bother him.

He worked with your band off and on for quite awhile, I take it.
Off and on for quite awhile, yes.



Eddie Shuler's Reveliers at KPLC in Lake Charles, early 1950s, with Charlie Broussard on fiddle (far right).

Now, when you recorded Iry, you created the Folk-Star label. Was that originally intended to be just a Cajun label?
I intended that to be a “folk” type of music (label), because that’s what I termed Cajun music as: folk music. I decided that I’d have those kind of songs on my folk label. On top of that, if I had them all on Goldband, when I’d go out to the jukebox operators, they could only buy so many copies of one label. So I started this other label, so then I’d have two labels to get on the jukeboxes. That’s how I wound up with all those other labels. And, in later years, I found out that it worked the same way with radio stations. They could only play so many of one company’s records. So, I said, "Well, I’ll give them other labels, and they won’t know they’re mine." So that’s what I did.

There was a time there, in the early fifties, where it seemed like just about everything you were releasing was on Folk-Star. It seems like you almost discontinued Goldband for awhile.

I was so busy with that stuff, I didn’t have time for Goldband anymore. But then, later on, it switched back around.

So, you were taken completely by suprise with the success and popularity of Iry LeJeune...
Oh, yeah. Well, the guy could go out, and I’ve seen him do this, he’d go out there, get drunk, and start cussin’ all the people out in the club -- and of course it would be late at night and they’re all half-looped anyway -- so they’d all get mad, go home, (and threaten that) they’re never gonna come to his dances again, and blah, blah, blah. The next time he came to play, two weeks later, there they all were, right back in there. I didn’t understand that at all; it didn’t make any sense to me. But that’s the kind of following he had. And he was even bigger after that than he was before.

You mentioned recording him at KAOK...what were some of the other places you recorded him at?
At his house. By that time, I had found one of the little tape recorders that they’d come out with. It cost $247. And I said, "Well, I’ll just make my records on that thing." So, I went to Iry’s house, and did some recording in his house. And, of course, they had built his house out of green lumber. Well, when it all dried, they had cracks in the walls. There wasn’t no insulation.

We had this song, I forget the name now ("Durald Waltz"). It was a fiddle song, so Iry didn’t play on it. The fiddle player (Wilson Granger) played it. (During the recording), the dogs outside cried during the middle, but you couldn’t hear it because of the ambience of the record. In later years, people asked, "How did you get that dog in your record?" I said, "I don’t have no dog in my record." They started cleaning ‘em up (the tapes), and I got to listening to the thing and said, "Oh, yeah. There is a dog in there." (Laughs) That’s when I realized the dogs were outside moaning and groaning while they were playing music. “Durald Waltz,” that’s it. That’s the one.

After he got killed, I threw all his records back in the corner and forgot about it, ‘cause I heard when one of them died, you couldn’t give his records away. Well, a couple of years later, maybe not that long, they come around here and want to hear Iry’s records. Some of ‘em were six foot two, weighed 280 pounds...I’d get one of the records out and play it, and stand up there and cry like a baby. I started reissuing his records then.

His first recording had a fiddle, a guitar, and a steel guitar. Them were all his wife’s brothers. That was “Lacassine Special” and “Calcasieu Waltz,” that was his first recording (on Folk-Star).


Eddie peddling Goldband 45s out of the trunk of his Cadillac.

You recorded Joe Manuel...do you remember anything about him?
Oh yes, he was a real good French singer and fiddle player. The way I found him, I was coming back one night from somewhere way up in North Louisiana, coming down old highway 165, and I seen this club out there about 12 o’clock in the morning, 3 o’clock in the morning -- I don’t know what time it was, but it was late. And they had a bunch of cars. I said, "Let me stop and check this out." There was Abe and Joe Manuel in there playing, and they had a pretty good crowd.

Now, you also had Gene Rodrigue...
Gene was from South Louisiana, down around Golden Meadow, somewhere down there. He had a good band. “La Ville” was one of my favorite songs that I liked. That was the reason I recorded him.

You just had one release on him?
Yeah.

The first record I have on Cleveland Crochet is his version of “Keep A-Knockin’,” which came out on Folk-Star. Do you remember that?

Vaguely. Back in those days, I’d record just about anybody that came along, you know. Because I was the only game in town. Of course, I wanted to do it...I said, "Why not?"



You pretty much had an open door policy...
Oh yeah, I was very receptive. I sometimes think I would’ve been a whole lot better off if I’d been a little more selective, but then, I wound up with some great records, so I don’t know. Some of the things I did, I didn’t think were worth anything, but they always outsold the ones that I liked so good. That kind of aggravated me to a degree, ‘cause I couldn’t understand why that happened. But I finally realized that the public has their own taste, and just because I’m a musician, it doesn’t make me Jesus Christ, ‘cause they’re the ones that plunk the money down on the counter.

So, you more or less decided that you’d record anything that sounded good, and let the public decide whether...
That’s the way I viewed it. I didn’t care too much about my own decisions, because, like I said, the things I liked wasn’t what they liked. So, we might as well go along with what they like. And they generally always liked the things that I let (the band) go in there and do whatever they did.

Now, your biggest hit I guess was “Ace of Love”?
Yes, that was a big one. I was playing in a club between here and (East) Orange, on this side of the river, called the Rainbow Club. I played out there three nights a week for seven years. It was at that time I cut “Ace of Love.” The thing come out, and it was a smash hit. My popularity went up -- I could get $300 a night, and man, that was a lot of money back in those days. So, that was the beginning of me realizing that there was more to this stuff than I’d even dreamed there was.



Eddie in 1971.


Now, a lot of your records up this point had no publishing credit at all.
No. Well, I had a publishing deal with a fellow in Houston, Pappy Daily. It didn’t work too good. Daily had a jukebox distributing business, so I gave him the publishing on my songs, thinking that would help me get my records on his jukeboxes. Well, guess what? That didn’t help a bit. He was my publisher, but he wouldn’t put none of my records on the jukebox. That kind of ticked me off, so I said, "I’ve got to start my own publishing company, because I’m spending my money, giving this guy this benefit, and he’s not doing nothing for me." So that’s how I wound up getting serious about the publishing business.

And, at that point in time, I’d met Don Pierce in Nashville, him and Daily had formed Starday and moved it to Nashville. Don Pierce had come off the West Coast. Don was helping me out, supplying me with a little extra finances, so with him I formed this publishing company. Pappy Daily got real PO’d about it, so him and Don had a falling out. They parted company as a result of me. We had some pretty good things with Don, that he put on his Hollywood label.

You said Don was helping you out financially. How did...
Well, if I needed to put out a record, and I didn’t have enough money, he’d loan me the money to put out the record.

And you were satisfied with him as a promoter and publisher?
Oh yeah. He was an honest guy; a first-class businessperson. Somewhere along the way, later on after all of this stuff was over with, he sent me a check for $875. I said, "I wonder what this is for?" Well, I called him up, and he said, "Well, I owed you that, I just never had paid you."



Billboard, May 19, 1951. Confusing note about a then-five-year-old label starting up anew, with Steve Fruge, not Shuler listed as owner. Fruge may have been a temporary business partner.

Where did you do most of your pressing in the fifties?
Plastic Products in Memphis. Buster Williams.

We’ve talked before about TNT Records, and I wanted to go over that again, because I’m intrigued by your connection to TNT.
Well, I went to San Antonio because Bob Tanner had a pressing plant. So, I drove over there, and took a couple of my acetates with me. And I told him I’d like to make a deal for him to press my records. So, he decided he’d press ‘em himself and put ‘em on his label. And I said, "Well, okay, let’s try that." I hadn’t tried that.

Yeah, he put out four records from your masters as far as I know, the first one being your version of “Grand Mamou.”
I had a bunch of top notch musicians there. Hector Stutes was the fiddle player. I can’t remember the others’ names. I think he also put out “Way Down Under Blues.” At least he had it. Maybe he never did put it out.

So, he just put out these records, and you sold them at your shop, and...
That was about the size of it. I’d sell ‘em out of the back of my car. See, what I’d do, I’d take my records and put ‘em in the back of my car and go call on all the jukebox operators. And they didn’t know who I was, ‘cause I’d just tell ‘em “Goldband.” I didn’t want ‘em to know that I was the artist, ‘cause the jukebox operator’s not gonna buy a record from the artist, ‘cause they never are any good, according to them.

There was a jukbox operator down in New Iberia called Teche Novelty. They had jukeboxes in Louisiana and Mississippi. They bought all my records. Soon as I put one out, I’d put ‘em in the back of my car and go down to New Iberia, and unload down there. And they’d put ‘em on their jukeboxes.

So that was your main distributor, I guess?
Oh, yeah. For two or three years, something like that.



Eddie in the Goldband control room, 1970. Changing times meant nothing to Eddie, who still continued to use the early '50s Ampex 350 on new recordings.

I wanted to ask you about Virgel Bozman.
He came along later on, he sold cowhorns...and he also got involved with George Khoury here. They went down to KPLC and did the same thing that I did: cut a disc.

Now, did Khoury open his record shop there on Railroad Avenue before you moved into Church Street?
Yeah, that was before I moved into the old church house.

And the church had been abandoned, or...
Yeah, they had built another church, because the town at that time was moving south. And they had went down south of town, built a church out there. They had abandoned this building and left it to the lumber company. And then the lumber company rented it to me.

And you didn’t see any problem opening a record shop in the same block as Khoury’s?
No, because I had a TV and radio business, a good radio business. The records were just a side deal by that time.



Eddie, George Khoury, and Phil Phillips at Goldband, 1959.

Did Khoury do most of his recording at your studio?
Yes. A couple of his big records he did over in Beaumont.

We cut “Sea of Love.” George brought Phil Phillips in, and wanted me to record him. And I said, "Well, I don’t want to spend no money on this guy." They didn’t have any money. I wanted to help ‘em out, and I had just started my publishing company with Don Pierce (Kamar Music BMI). So we got in here, I cut the record for ‘em, and handed ‘em the master. That was a mistake. I didn’t realize the thing was gonna be anything like it was.

But you did retain the publising?
Yeah. When I got my royalty check, I thought they’d made a mistake. It was almost $200,000. And that record is still out there, 40 years later. (Note: This is a rare exaggeration from Eddie. The quarterly song publishing royalty for a record that spent two weeks in the Pop Top 10 would have been more like $20,000, not $200,000.)

You didn’t record that much blues music, but what you did record was significant. I guess two of the guys everybody remembers are Hop Wilson and Juke Boy Bonner.

Yeah, Hop Wilson and Juke Boy Bonner were two of my aces. And also Clarence Garlow. I had some great stuff on him. He was out of Beaumont. He brought me a lot of those people.



Did he bring you Hop Wilson?
No. I think some guy that played with Garlow came along and told me about Hop Wilson playing steel guitar in a blues band. I said, “Man, I’ve never heard of such a thing in my life. I’ve got to hear this.” That’s how I wound up with Hop Wilson. He was a good musician.

You put out two records by him, but you’ve said before that he became disgruntled.
Well, see, after we put out these two records, he thought he was going to go right to the top of the totem pole. And, of course, on an independent label, it doesn’t work like that. And there wasn’t no way for me to explain that to him. I just told him, “Well, you ought to keep on trying, because you never know what you’re going to do.” But he wouldn’t do it, because he wasn’t getting no money. He was expecting all kinds of big things to happen as a result of those two records.

They didn’t sell very well, I guess.
They sold fairly well, but the blues wasn’t the main forte of the music business at that time. It was kind of a step-child. I liked the stuff, but there just wasn’t a market out there for it.

Legend has it that Juke-Boy Bonner saw a Goldband record in California and decided that he was going to record for your label, just based on the name.

That’s a true story. First of all, the record he saw was one of my biggest records: Jimmy Wilson’s “Please accept My Love.” Clarence Garlow brought Jimmy Wilson to me. He (Garlow) wrote that song. Well, Jimmy Wilson was a fantastic singer. I mean, he was one of the greatest. But he was also an alcoholic … which I didn’t know at the time. So, I recorded him, and that record just went through the roof. At that time I was still affiliated with Don Pierce. We had eight labels wanting to lease the master from us. And I said, “Don, I don’t know enough about them people to determine which (label).” So, he checked it all out, and we wound up with that one down there in Atlanta (NRC). So, they was pressing the records, but we wasn’t getting no money. So I shut ‘em down.

It wound up on a jukebox in San Francisco. That’s where Juke Boy Bonner heard it, and decided that he was going to record for my company.

Tell me about Bee Arnold (Arnold Broussard).
He was the son of Charles Broussard, who was a fiddle player in my band. But he played rock and roll. He made a couple of records for me, and they were good records, ‘cause the guy was a good piano player. He was a young kid. I recorded him here (at Church Street). At the time he was killed (April, 1956), he had a deal with Mercury.

How did you find Boozoo Chavis?
He was brought to me by Sidney Brown. Sidney made accordions. I guess that’s the way he found Boozoo. And he told me, “I got a boy there that plays blues music. He’s got a good song, I think you ought to listen to it.” I said, “Well, bring him in.” So he brought Boozoo in. I told Sidney I liked the song (“Paper In My Shoe”). I said, “Are you going to play with him?” He said, “Oh, no, I can’t play that kind of music, Eddie.” I didn’t realize there was that much difference between blues-Cajun and Cajun, you know. Even as much as I’d experienced, I hadn’t experienced that.

Zydeco music.
It was a rare form on zydeco. So I said, “What am I going to do?” Sidney said, “Find some kind of band that can play it.” So, I went out and found a black band that played rock and roll. Classie Ballou. I told Classie, “I got $250, can you play this blues type of music of music with the accordion?” He said, “Oh, yeah.” Well, they got into the studio here on Church Street. And Classie didn’t know what Boozoo was doing, and Boozoo didn’t know what nobody was doing … ‘cause Boozoo does everything (his own way). He changes (chords) when he’s ready, and that’s it. (Note: It is extremely unlikely Eddie paid a local band $250 in 1954 money for a session. The actual payment was probably more like $25.)

That must have been a frustrating session.
It was frustrating. The bottle got passed around. We worked on it three days, trying to get that thing. ‘Course, we had a deal: Classie had to cut my record before he could get paid.

Three days?
Three days and three nights. On the third day, I decided to go buy a little half-pint of Seagrams 7. I gave Boozoo a couple of drinks out of that thing … well, I didn’t have no glass in my door (of the studio). I had the wires running underneath the door. I’d close the door (during the recording), so I could hear ‘em, but I couldn’t see ‘em. So … they were recording, and this thing was coming down real good, and all of a sudden I heard the biggest crash I’d ever heard in my life. But the music never stopped.

So you didn’t know what the crash was?
No, because the music kept going. So I went down to the end of the record, then opened the door, and there lay Boozoo on the floor still playing his accordion. (Laughs) I gave up on it at that time, and paid Classie and sent him home.

That was all the money I had. I was working for an insurance company part-time, selling insurance on the side. So, I went out there fussing to myself, spending all of this money when I didn’t get nothing I could use. I finally went back into the studio and listened to it again, and that’s when I said, “Well, if I cut it off (fade) just before he falls off of the stool, I got a good record.” Well, guess what? I turned out to be a hit record.

I’ve heard you say that was the biggest hit you had up to that point.
Oh, yeah. That’s what it was. I faded it out just before the crash come in. It’s a quick fade-out.

So, up to that time, you’d never heard zydeco music? In fact, you didn’t even use the word zydeco …
No, no. Back at that time, you just called it black Cajun music (probably “Negro Cajun”). There wasn’t no such thing as zydeco.

How did that record get on Post, the Imperial subsidiary?
Don Pierce and I were working together, so there’s no telling what Don did.

Boozoo only made one more record with you (“Forty-One Days”). What happened?
The guy at Imperial (Lew Chudd) asked me, “Can you get him in the studio and cut something else on him?” I said, “I don’t think so. I’ll have to find out.” So I called Boozoo up, and he came in. I told him that the man wants another record. He said, “Well, I’m not making any more records. My brother told me not to. He trains horses.” I said, “What does that have to do with the music business?” But he wouldn’t cut any more records. So, I called up Imperial and told ‘em. I didn’t want to tell him what happened, because I figured Boozoo might change his mind. So that’s what happened.

You moved into the Church Street location in 1955?
Yeah. (Note: The Lake Charles City Directory lists Eddie's Music House at 313 Church starting in 1952.)



Shuler letter to Huey P. Meaux, October 10, 1961. Cleveland Crochet's "Sugar Bee" is "selling up a storm in all markets, including the colored."

And that’s when you bought the Ampex recorder?
Yeah. But I bought the little table-top thing first. The little portable thing. But then I decided to buy the floor model. The 350. And that thing was a workhorse. Without a doubt, one of the best ever made.

You didn’t charge musicians by the hour.
No, I paid by the song. There was no studio clock running. It was just: when you get my song cut the way you want it, that’s when you get paid, and we move on to the next one.

What was your typical pressing back then? About 500 copies?
About 500 to a thousand copies, depending on which issue it was, and what its potential was. Finally, I found out that you paid as much for a thousand as you did for 500, so I started to press a thousand.

Were you still distributing records out of the back of your car by this time (late ‘50s)?
No, I had distributors...I had a distributor in New Orleans. He had Mercury records, about eight or ten other labels, and he had a salesman that went around and called on all the jukebox operators and the stores. So I thought, man, I had really reached the big time. But I hadn’t seen no sales. So, one weekend I decided to go to visit my wife’s parents in Ville Platte. I decided to stop in Opelousas at a record shop on the way there. The woman (who owned it) said, "Am I glad to see you. A record salesman just left here." I said, "Who was he with?" She said, "He was with Mercury Records, but he doesn’t have any of your stuff."

So, man, I sold her a bunch of stuff. I found out where he was headed for, so I hurried to the next town. I got there a little bit ahead of him. At the retail place, y’know. And I waited for him. So, when he showed up, I introduced myself, and we went in...I didn’t tell him who I was. After he come out, I said, "Don’t you have some of that other stuff that they put out there?" He said, "You mean that Cajun and that swamp music stuff? I got some of that, but I don’t ever take it out. I can’t stand that stuff." He was going to Tulane University and didn’t like that kind of music, so he wouldn’t even let the people hear it. So, I pulled my labels from the guy then.

Besides New Orleans, were you distributing into, say, Shreveport or Memphis?
I was trying to work with Stan (Lewis) out of Shreveport, but it was hard to work with Stan. He didn’t cotton to what I was doing all that much.

Did you have distribution in Texas anywhere?
No. But, like I said, I would go out to Beaumont and sell ‘em out of the back of my car, y’know. ‘Cause it was close. Houston was too far away.



Eddie twisting the knobs at Goldband, 1960.


So most of your records were distributed from Lafayette to Lake Charles, and that was it?
Well, I had so much other business, I couldn’t do all that other stuff. By that time, I got the TV business going gung-ho...

So by the time you moved into the Church Street location, the records were just a sideline.
Yeah, that’s all. I had 27 brands of TVs I was selling. I had 15 trucks, and 18 people working for me. But I finally realized that with all the money I was taking in, I was just putting it in one pocket and taking it out and giving it to the manufacturers and all that, so I said, "Wait a minute. This ain’t working." So I quit all that mess and went back to being a TV technician. I got me a bench man -- I done the outside work, and he did the bench work. I stayed in the business for 38 years, and made money out of it.

Do you think that it’s safe to say that Goldband is America’s longest living independent label?
I would have to think that that’s a fact. I don’t know of anything else out there that’s enjoyed the longevity that Goldband has. On one of their liner notes, Ace Records said that once you hear a Goldband record, you know you’re hearing something nobody else has. Well, that’s what I tried to do. But I didn’t think anybody was noticing what I was doing. I believed in just one thing: get the music as good as you can, and keep the feeling.




Eddie Shuler's Reveliers - The Goldband chronological discography
Compiled by Dave Sax and Al Turner


1011 (first pressing)
EDDIE SHULER’S “REVELIERS”
(A) A-1011 Broken Love (Eddie Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie) prob. 1945
(B) B-1011 Is There Room in Your Heart (For Me Darling) (Eddie Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie)

NB: Original blue label with heavy silver print. “Broken Love” cuts off dead at end about 4 bars before finish. ‘A’ side has 1011-A in wax. ‘B’ side has 1011-B in wax. Label shows A-1011/B-1011 respectively. Reissued/remastered on a red label c. 1949 (see below).

Both of these have the logo, “Everyone a treat.” (Presumably intended as “Every One A Treat.”) These 2 records do use different takes including the ‘spontaneous’ asides, suggesting that the band had well-rehearsed the two numbers.

The acoustics and balance varies a lot between the versions suggesting that 2 sessions is possible, although unlikely. More likely the musicians or microphone(s) were moved after running through the numbers once. The two sides that are very thin and distant in sound are not on the same record! They are:

Broken Love. BLUE LABEL VERSION.
Is There Room In Your Heart (For Me Darling). RED LABEL VERSION

On the other 2 versions, the sound is more full but the fiddle less prominent. Quite an extraordinary set of circumstances.

The maroon press is a very swishy pressing and would have been pressed not that long after the blue label. It is less often found. Shuler obviously had the disc remastered because of the dead stop on the first pressing and had to come up with other takes. Both are primitive pressings from a time when it was difficult for the new independents to find plants to press their records. In a couple of cases, a side plays more than 20 seconds before any music is heard. Quoted dates of 1945 seem likely judging by the appearance of the records.

1011 (second pressing)
EDDIE SHULER’S “REVELIERS” c. mid 1946
(A) Broken Love (Eddie Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie)
(B) Is There Room in Your Heart (For Me Darling) (Eddie Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie)

NB: Maroon label with gold print; otherwise identical typeset, etc. ‘A’ side has G-1010 in wax. ‘B’ side has G-1011 in wax and uses a different plant than the blue label issue.

"Is There Room in Your Heart (For Me Darling)" copyright by Shuler and Ronald "Pee Wee" Lyons on October 9, 1946.




G-1012
EDDIE SHULER’S “REVELIERS” c. mid 1946
(A) Mes Cinquantes Sous (My Fifty Cents) (Miles) (Vocal – Frankie)
(B) Jolie Blonde (Pretty Blonde) (Vocal – Frankie)

NB: Probably the last with logo “Everyone a treat.” Frankie = Frankie Miles
“A” is a vocal duet, probably with Shuler. Same label and plant as maroon version of 1011 but 1013 has not been seen..

G-1013
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS”
Forever Lost
Soldier’s Waltz [probably]

G-1014
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS” c. 1947
(A) Which Star Above is You (Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie)
(B) Only One Sweetheart For Me (A. Peshoff) (Vocal – Buckshot)

NB: Deep maroon & gold label.

G-1015
EDDIE SHULER c. 1947
(A) La Valse De Meche (nc) (Vocal – Norris)
(B) I Don’t Blame Myself (I Blame You) (nc) (Vocal – Eddie)

NB: Norris = Norris Savoie. No main artist credit; “Eddie Shuler” rubber stamped on label in gold. 6 in wax/4 in wax only. Same label as 1014.

G-1016
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS” c. 1947
(A) Pipe Line Blues (nc) (Vocal – Eddie)
(B) Burning Love (Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie)

NB: ‘A’ Side has GRC-2/A-12558R in wax. ‘B’ Side has GRC-4/A-12559R in wax. The “R” suggests that an earlier pressing could exist. Same label as 1014.

G-1017
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS” c. 1948/9
(A) Hey Cushmall (nc) (Vocal – Norris)
(B) Faded Love Waltz (nc) (Vocal – Norris)

NB: Lighter weight Research Craft pressing, maroon and gold label, thinner title print. "Norris" = Norris Savoie.

G-1018
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS” c. 1948/9
(A) Friends Gather (Stutes) (Vocal – Frankie)
(B) My Jolie (nc) (Vocal – Norris)

NB: “Friends Gather,” despite vocal credit, is a western swing instrumental. Same label as 1017.
Stutes = poss. Hector Stutes

G-1011
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS” c. 1949/50
(A) Way Down Under Blues (Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie)
(B) I’m Mighty Afraid You Are Wrong (Sons-Shuler) (Vocal – Mary Sons)

NB: Same label as and pressing type as 1017 & 1018, indicating that it dates from the same period but actual sequence unknown.

G-1011
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS” c. 1949/50
(A) Broken Love
(B) I’m Mighty Afraid You Are Wrong (Vocal – Mary Sons)

NB: Remastered version of the 1945/46 pressing with greatly improved sound quality.

G-1019
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS” Billboard: Nov. 11, 1950
(A) I Never Want a Sweetheart (Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie Shuler)
(B) Your Heart Can Never Be True (Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie Shuler)

NB: Black label and gold print, same pressing type as 1017/8 and the new 1011.

"I Never Want a Sweetheart" was copyrighted by Shuler on May 19, 1944.

G-1020
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS” c. late 1950
(A) Jambalaya Boogie (C. Broussard) (Vocal – C. Broussard)
(B) Traveller’s Waltz (nc) (Vocal – C. Broussard) = Charlie Broussard

NB: Same label as 1019.

G-1021
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS” c. 1951
(A) Ace of Love (Shuler-Lyons-Choats) (Vocal – Eddie Shuler)
(B) Hiding My Tears in the Rain (Gartland-Shuler-Nelson) (Vocal – Eddie Shuler)

NB: Research Craft press.

G-1022
EDDIE SHULER’S “REVELIERS” c. 1951
(A) Right Next Door to Texas (A. Peshoff) (Vocal – Eddie Shuler)
(B) Do You Think of Me (Shuler-Conner) (Vocal – Eddie Shuler)

NB: from this point: all 78s have red labels with silver print. This one uses a different plant with written numbers in wax and has a larger title font, similar to Goldband G-F 102 by Iry LeJune.

G-1023
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS” c. 1952/3
(A) The Couple in the Car (Next to Mine) (Shuler-Lyons-Floyd) (Vocal – Eddie Shuler)
(B) I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight (T. B. Bransom) (Vocal – Eddie Shuler)

NB: This is the first we are aware of on a 45 rpm, which is maroon and silver. The 78 is the usual plant, the same as G-1017 through 1020 (Research Craft).

G-1024
This was probably a cancelled release or mistakenly missed number. This number was used for a 60s repress of Iry LeJune.





G-1025
EDDIE SHULER AND HIS ALL STAR REVELIERS c. 1952/3
(A) Broken Love (Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie Shuler)
(B) Help Us Oh Lord (Gibbs-Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie & Pee Wee) = Pee Wee Lyons

NB: “Broken Love” is a new version, not a reissue of 1011. Same pressing type and label as 1022.

G-1026
This was probably a cancelled release or mistakenly missed number. This number was probably used for a 60s repress of James Freeman Folk Star / Eagle 106 and Folk Star G-F 1196.

G-1027
EDDIE SHULER c. 1953/4
What Is That Thing Called Love
Uncertainness, Unhappiness

G-1028
EDDIE SHULER
(A) Things I Love the Most (Are the Things I Must Forget) (Vocal – Eddie)
(B) It’s a Dirty Deal (Vocal – Eddie)

NB: Listed in a Goldband catalog and probably scheduled, but not issued. It could otherwise have been a later reissue.
See next entry.

G-F-1129
EDDIE SHULER c. February/March 1955.
(A) Things I Love the Most (Are the Things I Must Forget) (Lyons-Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie)
(B) It’s a Dirty Deal (Lyons-Shuler) (Vocal – Eddie)

NB: Delta pressing 3543/3544 = c. February/March 1955. The Shuler number (with the GF- prefix) is actually a Folk-Star number, but with a Goldband label. Hopelessly confusing, as it obviously became for Eddie at the time. 45 has maroon label as 1023, 78 not verified.

G-1015 [reissue]
EDDIE SHULER’S ALL STAR “REVELIERS” c. October, 1955
(A) La Valse de Meche (The Marsh Waltz) (Vocal – Norris)
HACKBERRY RAMBLERS
(B) The Misery of a Broken Heart (Vocal – not credited) Pee Wee Lyons?

NB: Delta pressing 6803/6804 = c. October, 1955. Reissue of G-1015 with a new ‘B’ side.
“A” side may not have been confirmed as same recording as original release.

Goldband 1029 does not exist but was the intended number for a Bee Arnold record that mistakenly came out as Goldband G-1129 (delta 6807/8) at the same time as the above record. Another current release was Iry LeJune FolkStar G-F 1198 at 6805/6. Likewise, the intended 1030 by the Boogie Ramblers appeared as G-1130, which was among the first pressed at the Coast pressing plant, contemporary with FolkStar 1130 [Clarence Garlow}.These numbers were used again in the early sixties.

This was the last of Eddie’s early records (he had a couple in the late ‘60s or ‘70s), and Goldband continued in 1956 from G-1031 as the label used for all artists. [Folk-Star was discontinued at 1201 until the end of the decade because of a complaint from 4 Star Records].

Shuler appears to have later assigned these unused numbers for reissues. A catalog shows 1024 as Iry LeJune’s Goldband 103 coupling (don’t ask – it was intended to be Folk-Star 103), but only a late pressing 45 from the ‘60s or later has actually been seen with this number. Likewise, 1026 is shown as a reissue as a reissue of James Freeman’s Folk-Star/Eagle 106 record (also on Goldband G-F-1196 – yep, a Folk-Star number), but I’ve never heard of a copy.


Eddie Shuler singles on other labels:
TNT 103
EDDIE SHULER AND HIS REVELIERS 1953
(1) Grande Mamou (E. Shuler) vocal-not credited
(2) Your Heart Can Never be True (E. Shuler) vocal-not credited but is Shuler

NB: Black label with silver print. No vocal credits, but “Grande Mamou” aurally by Norris Savoie. “Your Heart Can Never be True" is a later re-recording of G-1019.

Khoury’s 700
EDDIE SHULER AND HIS ALL STAR REVELIERS 1954/5
(A) J’ai Passe Devant ta Porte (nc) (The For Me, For Me Song) vocal-not credited

NB: Reverse is by LeBlanc’s French Band (Floyd LeBlanc, reissue of OT 104). This blue/silver Khoury’s is the start of the second 700 series, c. 1954/5, after the 600 series. Not the early Lyric/Khoury Hillbilly 700 series.

Additional unissued songs by Shuler can be found in the Charly Goldband reissue series albums "Bop Boogie in the Dark" (GCL-105) and "Hillbilly Stomp" (GCL-108).



Goldband Studio, 313 Church Street, in August 2005.

5 comments:

  1. To say this piece is marvelous is such a huge understatement. Amazing interview. That discography is pure gold.

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  2. Most Excellent.

    Corky In Texas

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  3. Incredible Thanks!! If I can remember what I had for breakfast in the morning I'm doing great, Eddie seems to have that rare ability to not only remember what he had that morning, but also what he had 50 years ago. Thanks for drawing some of that information out and getting it down in writing, the interview was fascinating. I love Goldband, it's wonderful to learn more about the label and the man who ran it.

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  4. In an interview with Eddie Shuler, he states his first Cajun recording was "Meche" G-1015. This should pre-date his "Jolie Blonde" G-1012, however, it's hard to reconcile why that pressing has "everyone a treat" but the other does not. I suppose he held onto it and had G-1015 pressed much later after his G-1012.
    WF

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  5. Khoury's 700 was pressed on both blue label as well as on a black label. The black label is spelled as "Je Vous Passe La Porte" (leaving out the 'For Me' subtitle) and it's listed by "Shuler's All Star Reveliers"

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