Born Eddie James Bond, 1 July 1933, Memphis, Tennessee
Country / rockabilly singer Eddie Bond has been a recording artist, band leader, record-label owner, deejay and radio station manager, television show host, nightclub owner, chief of police, agent and promoter and editor of a monthly entertainment newspaper. Bond was one of the few Memphis rockabillies actually born in the city. Being in the right place at the right time didn't translate into a successful recording career, though. He never had a national hit (neither pop nor country), but reaped some reward as a rockabilly revivalist in the 1980s.
Though there was no musical inspiration from his family, young Eddie latched onto music from the age of eight. He learned to play the guitar and grew up with country music acquiring a taste for Roy Acuff and Ernest Tubb, later for Webb Pierce and Carl Smith. After a stint in the Navy, he formed his first band, the Stompers in 1952. Reggie Young (later one of the best Memphis studio pickers) joined the group in 1955 as their new lead guitarist. By that time the group was almost permanently on the road, touring with Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Lloyd Arnold and Charlie Feathers, among others.
After being rejected by both Sun and Meteor, Eddie made his first records for the Hollywood-based Ekko label. Red Matthews produced the session in Nashville with some of the top session men at the time. But the two fine singles issued ("Double Duty Lovin'" and "Love Makes A Fool") did not sell enough for Ekko to ask him back. In February 1956 Eddie and his band started recording for Mercury, under the supervision of Dee Kilpatrick. He earned his rockabilly credentials with the songs "Rockin' Daddy" (a cover of Sonny Fisher's Starday classic), "Slip Slip Slippin'-In", "Flip Flop Mama" (a Bond original), "Boppin' Bonnie" and "I Got A Woman". All these tracks feature the hot guitar playing of Reggie Young. Six singles appeared on Mercury during 1956-57. Sales were respectable, but not spectacular.
Next, Bond did a few sessions for Sun which went unissued. He then recorded for a number of small Memphis labels, including Stomper Time Records,which he co-owned. His radio work - he had been hired as a deejay by KWEM in Memphis in late 1956 - became increasingly important for him and during the 1960s Eddie was a powerful force in Memphis radio. This power base led inevitably to TV and over the next 30 years Bond would star in a number of TV series, possibly the most popular being "Wake Up Ranch".
In 1962 he got to fulfill the old ambition of having a release on Sun when he did the album "Eddie Bond Sings Greatest Country Gospel Hits" (Phillips International PILP 1980). He also recorded some 20 additional unissued titles for Sun, including remakes of "Double Duty Lovin'" and "Rockin' Daddy". All these tracks have become available over the years, thanks to Bear Family and Charly.
While rockabillies with similar backgrounds retired from music, Bond continued in country music, occasionally performing on the Grand Ole Opry, and recording for a host of ever-smaller labels. In 1973 he was involved in the writing and the music for the movie "Walking Tall", based on the story of Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser. He returned to his rockabilly days in 1979, with a session at American Sound Studio in Memphis, backed by veterans like Charlie Feathers, Marcus Van Story and Jimmy Van Eaton. The single "One Way Ticket" became a firm favourite on the European rockabilly circuit.
Eddie's first visit to Europe (England and Holland), in 1982, was an enormous success and as a result he would return many times to perform all over Europe at festivals and club dates. During the 1982 tour Bond recorded 22 songs (mostly rockabilly) in London, backed by Dave Travis and his Bad River Band. The results were released on two LP's on the Dutch Rockhouse label, in 1982 and 1984. The 1980s were a busy decade for Bond. Apart from his gigs, he had daily radio shows on two different stations, owned a night club annex restaurant, ran two local newspapers, all this on top of being Chief of Police in Finger, TN!
Bond recorded only sporadically in the 1990s, but continued to perform well into the 21st century. Gradually he divested himself of his various professional interests. Stomper Time Records was sold to Dave Travis in England, who has reissued many Bond tracks on CD since then. Nowadays Eddie is retired and lives quietly with his wife, Gladys, in Bolivar, Tennessee.
List of his songs : http://www.hankwilliamslistings.com/ind-edbo.htm?= More info : http://www.rockabillyhall.com/EddieBond1.html
Discography / sessionography :
Acknowledgements : Dave Travis, Bill Millar, Craig Morrison.
Dik, November 2012
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