Joe and Eddie
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|Joe and Eddie|
Joe and Eddie in 1965
|Past members||Joe Gilbert
Joe and Eddie was an American gospel folk group. During their careers, the African-American duo composed of Joe Gilbert and Eddie Brown successfully toured the United States and Canada, appeared on more than 20 major television shows and recorded eight albums.
The musical duo's focus was creating harmony with Joe Gilbert singing tenor and Eddie Brown singing baritone. Their style incorporated gospel, folk tunes, and blues with a little jazz flavor. Their songs contained a minimum of background instrumentals, since the "main objective was to focus on Joe & Eddie's singing..." The duo was known for their rapid-fire delivery and vocal improvisations, as heard in the songs "Green Grass" and "Children Go".
Both born in 1941 and raised in the South, Joe Gilbert and Eddie Brown had much in common before they even met. Gilbert was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana while Brown grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. Around the same time, the two boys migrated to Berkeley, California, with their respective families, and met in the mid-1950s at Willard Middle School in the a cappella choir. Their first performance together was in the Berkeley High School Talent Show, where they sang a duet and won first place.
With the help of their high-school choir professor, Earl Blakeslee, the two boys formed a partnership and strove to go professional. Their first gigs were at college fraternity and sorority parties, where they performed a variety of numbers. Blakeslee advised them to audition for the Don Sherwood Show, which originated in San Francisco. They earned their spot, and were asked back to the show several times.
Through their television appearances, Joe and Eddie were introduced to Gene Norman, president of GNP Crescendo Record Co., and then co-owner of the Crescendo and Interlude nightclubs, who assisted in launching their career. It was through Norman that Joe and Eddie recorded their first single and, by 1962, their first album, Exciting Folk Duo: Joe & Eddie (re-released after Gilbert's death as Down to Earth).
After the release of their first album, Joe and Eddie appeared on more television shows, including The Tonight Show, The Lively Ones, Hootenanny, and The Jackie Gleason Show. During this time, they recorded their second album, There's a Meetin' Here Tonite, and adapted that song as their signature tune. They performed this song in the film, Hootenanny Hoot.
They began touring and for four years continued to record more albums with GNP/Crescendo Records. Along with recording their harmonies, the two took turns in recording solos ("The Work Song," and "The Things I've Saved"). Bill Munday accompanied them on his guitar, while in other songs, the Les Baxter Chorus sang back up.
End of the duo
On August 6, 1966, Gilbert was killed in an automobile accident while driving home after a performance in the Cosmos Club in Seal Beach, California. His death marked the sudden end of the Joe and Eddie partnership. He was survived by a wife, Judy, and two sons. Eddie Brown continued to record as a solo act. As of 2007, Brown was continuing to work as a record producer and music arranger, most recently with the musical group Gravity 180.
- Exciting Folk Duo: Joe & Eddie (1962 GNP/Crescendo 75) (reissued after Gilbert's death on Sunset Records SUS-5210 as Down to Earth)
- There's A Meetin' Here Tonite (1963 GNP 86)
- Coast to Coast (1964 GNP 96)
- Volume 4 (1964 GNP 99)
- Tear Down The Walls! (1965 GNP 2005)
- Live In Hollywood (1965 GNP 2007)
- Walkin' Down The Line (1965 GNP 2014)
- The Magic of Their Singing (1966 GNP 2021)
- The Best of Joe & Eddie (1967 GNP 2032); re-released in 1993 on CD (GNPPD 2032) with additional tracks
- The Gospel Truth, (compilation album) (GNPS 2052)