Benoit in Bolivar County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Eddie Shaw earned international acclaim as one of the few saxophonists to ever build an enduring career leading a blues band. The most well-known saxophonists have often been jazz musicians, and wild, honking sax players once ruled on the early post-World War II rhythm & blues scene, but in most blues and R&B bands, sax players have been sidemen. Neither is the saxophone commonly associated with the music of the Mississippi Delta; in fact, in blues jargon, the term "Mississippi saxophone" jokingly refers to harmonica (which Shaw learned to play as well). But many of the most prominent bluesmen to emerge from the Delta have employed either a saxophonist or an entire
Horn players in Mississippi tended to develop in larger towns, where there were organized music programs in school or after school, such as Greenville, Clarksdale, Jackson, Natchez, and Vicksburg. Shaw, who moved to Greenville after living in Stringtown and Rosedale, was one of many who learned under the tutelage of Greenville postman Winchester "Little Wynn" Davis, who also hired many of his pupils to play in his band at dances. Shaw first played trombone and clarinet in the Coleman High School band and began playing sax at dances and clubs with the Green Tops, a local band modeled after Vickburg’s famous Red Tops, and with Charlie Booker, Elmore James, Little Milton, Ike Turner, and others, often joined by his friend and fellow saxophonist Oliver Sain. While attending Mississippi Vocational College (now Mississippi Valley State University) in Itta Bena, Shaw sat in with Muddy Waters in 1957. At Muddy’s invitation, Shaw soon headed for Chicago, and after some return trips to Greenville, he finally settled in Chicago, where he worked with Muddy, Howlin’ Wolf, Magic Sam, Otis Rush, Freddie King, and others as a sideman when not leading groups of his own. He also operated various businesses, including a barbecue house, laundromat,
Shaw, a prolific songwriter, recorded his first single in 1966 and numerous albums thereafter, in addition to accompanying Wolf, Magic Sam, and others on recording sessions. The titles of his first three albums, Have Blues, Will Travel; Movin’ and Groovin’ Man; and King of the Road, exemplified his tireless travels, which eventually took him to all fifty states and several foreign countries and earned him a widespread following and regular recognition in the annual Blues Music Awards. He made his film debut in the 2007 movie Honeydripper.
Edie Shaw with Bob Hudson (left) ad Jimmy Dawkins (right), Chicago, c. 1960
Eddie Shaw and longtime Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin at ChicagoFest, 1979
Eddie Shaw performing at his club, Eddie’s Place (The New 1815 Club), Chicago, 1975
Shaw with Johnny Littlejohn, Big Duke’s Blue Flame Lounge, Chicago, c. 1972
Bassist Lafayette “Shorty” Gilbert, (below left) a native of Lena, Mississippi, began his decades-long tenure with the Wolf Gang in the 1970s. Eddie Shaw’s son, guitarist Eddie “Vaan” Shaw, Jr., (below right) joined in the 1980s and
Eddie Shaw with Magic Sam, Chicago, c. 1963
Eddie Shaw’s former Greenville compatriot Oliver Sain (1932-2003) was another saxophonist who led blues and R&B bands and was a noted record producer as well. Sain, grandson of blues guitarist Dan Sain (or Sane) and stepson of Greenville blues pianist Willie Love, was a key figure on St Louis music scene for more than forty years.
Erected 2011 by Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 128.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail series list. A significant historical date for this entry is March 20, 1937.
Location. 33° 39.089′ N, 91° 0.553′ W. Marker is in Benoit, Mississippi, in Bolivar County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (State Highway 1) and Preston Street (State Highway 448), on the right when traveling north on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Benoit MS 38725, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Eddie Taylor (a few steps from this marker); William Fisher Johnson (approx. 3.7 miles away); Mississippi River Blues: The 1927 Flood (approx. 5˝ miles away); The Great Flood of 1927 (approx. 7.6 miles away); Christmas Mound (approx. 8.3 miles away); Lockheed T-33A (approx. 11.8 miles away); History of the 51-6601 (approx. 11.8 miles away); Winterville Mounds (approx. 11.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Benoit.
Also see . . . Eddie Shaw. Wikipedia (Submitted on August 15, 2020, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 16, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 15, 2020, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 69 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 15, 2020, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.