Stoney Edwards has been referred to as a fabulous forgotten black country giant. Here at The Country classics we work hard to preserve country music. Our tireless efforts ensure that no one is forgotten.
If you are old enough you remember the 50’s and early 60’s, when artists drove from one radio station to the next with 45-rpm records, just trying to get air play. By the mid-60’s Charlie Pride was an unknown young man trying to get his start. Chet Atkins took an interest in Charlie and in 1966 he released “Snakes Crawl At Night.”
Johnny Bush told me a story about Charlie Pride, and how Charlie opened for Ray Price in California. I was there that night. What I didn’t know, and Johnny Bush told me years later, is that was the first time Charlie had been West of Texas.
My point is that music is a tough business. It was hard to get a start and hard to get a break. It still is, but the old days were unique for Black country music artists.
Stoney Edwards was a great country music artist. Stoney Edwards had a string of singles on the Billboard charts from 1970 through 1982. He sang in a honky tonk style reminiscent of Lefty Frizzell and Merle Haggard. Stoney could do a Bob Wills tribute that touched your soul.
While Charlie Pride helped dispel thoughts of country music as a white medium, Stoney Edwards was just getting started. In 1971 Charlie released “Kiss an Angel Good Morning”, a million-selling crossover single that helped Pride land the Country Music Association’s prestigious Entertainer of the Year award, as well as Top Male Vocalist.
What you may not know about Stoney Edwards is that “Hank and Lefty Raised My Country Soul” was his song. So was “She’s My Rock”, later released by George Jones. George and Stoney performed the song together on George’s show.
Stoney Edwards never achieved the success of Charlie Pride, but his place in country music should not be forgotten. Stoney Edwards was as country as everyone else, and he contributed to traditional country music just like everyone else.
In 1976, one of his last chart singles created the most controversy. Many stations would not play, “Blackbird (Hold Your Head High)” because it contained the line “just a couple of country niggers” despite the song’s affirmative message.
For the first half of the 70’s I lived in North Alabama. I was in the Marine Corps, and came to Alabama from California. Only 100 miles south of Nashville, I was later transferred to Cherry Point North Carolina. I learned about textile mills and tobacco farms. I road the trains and ferries and heard Stoney Edwards “Blackbird”. It is a great positive song, and as the mills started to close, and family tobacco farms struggled, “Blackbird” was an inspiration to many people.
What thoughts and memories do we have of our parents? What did our fathers tell us that we still remember today? Do we see good in every man? It doesn’t make much difference where we are from, or what color we are, does it?
By the early 1980s, both his health and his career began to decline. He died on April 5, 1997. Here is country music artist Stoney Edwards and “Blackbird”, and if you are old enough, you’ll recognize Stoney: