Eddie Houston had a big, rough voice with a really “backwoods” country intonation, and had obviously spent a considerable time listening to Otis Redding’s phrasing. In short he was a southern soul singer in the classic mode. His recording career wasn’t extensive but it did contain some top quality tracks, most of which he had a hand in writing.
He came from around Meridian, MS and his first 45 around 1963 or 1964 was for the tiny local Mel-O-Juke concern owned by Sherman Johnson. The lively blues “Baby You Were Wrong” was backed with a good slow blues ballad Somewhere To Lay My Head but the low-fi production values and no distribution gave the single no chance despite a powerful emotive vocal performance.
His Malaco cuts were laid down early in 1968. He was asked to come to the studio by the legendary George Soule, who met Houston as a result of his DJ work at a local station in nearby Meridian. Coincidentally Eddie’s day job was working in the shipping office of the steel foundry owned by Soule’s family! Not only that but he could write a memorable song, and no less than four of the five songs here came from his pen.
The mid-paced I Can’t Go Wrong came out on a new label called Rise. By some chance the disc came to the ears of Wayne Shuler, son of Louisiana record man Eddie Shuler, who licensed the masters for Capitol. He replaced the disappointing flip “Simon Says” with the superb deep That’s How Much (I Love You), and the original “I Can’t Go Wrong” with a funkier alternative cut. Despite poor sales, Shuler persevered with another Houston single, issuing another amazing deep soul masterpiece “I Won’t Be The Last To Cry”. Both these 45s are now heavily collected and acknowledged as classics of the genre.
Houston did have another 45 released, “Knock And The Door Shall Be Opened”/”Away From Home” on Ovation a few years later, but despite his short recording career his reputation as the first of Malaco’s great ballad singers is secure. He was last heard of in Nashville working as the manager of a hotel.
Baby you are wrong / Somewhere to lay my head ~ MEL-O-JUKE 103 (1963/4)
I can't go wrong / Simon says ~ RISE 1001 (1968)
That's how much (I love you) / I can't go wrong ~ CAPITOL 2170 (1968)
Love sure is a powerful thing / I won't be the last to cry ~ CAPITOL 2397 (1969)
Knock and the door shall be opened / Away from home ~ OVATION 1051 (early 70s)
All of Eddie's Malaco recordings can be found on the Soulscape CD "Soul Chant" (SSCD 7006). In addition alternative version of "I Can't Go Wrong" and "That's How Much" are also included along with the excellent previously unissied cut "Walk Through This World With Me".