Frank Edwards (July 4, 1908 – June 24, 2021) was an American author and journalist, and was one of the original pioneers in radio. He was known as the “radio jockey” on WBCM, (the World Broadband Radio Program). He hosted such a program that was broadcast across the United States from a tower that gave out the signal using radio waves. The signal today is in digital format and can be heard using a telephone line or a computer. It can also be downloaded for free.
Frank Edwards had a life-long career in broadcasting. He was a news reporter for WBCM, where he contributed to all of the local newscasts and served as host of a popular program called “The Evening News.” It featured stories about local events. He was a long-time member of the African American Radio League and played a significant role as a mentor to many other young radio operators. He was a prolific author and published several books of poetry, lyrics and stories.
A famous quote of Frank Edwards is, “I’m not that old, I’m a young boy.” This is in reference to his having been a teenager when he began playing rhythm guitar in segregated music clubs in New Orleans during the 1960s folk revival. He was arrested and convicted of burglary after getting caught with marijuana and guns while traveling back to Nigeria. He spent four years in prison. He then spent the next six years traveling through Nigeria, performing with several other musicians, while working on a new album.
The album that he put out in the mid ’60s was his very first major break. The album was entitled Anointing by God and it featured fellow musician Emile for the lead vocals. The album did not do well commercially, despite its strong music and an influential singer. It didn’t help that Edwards was suffering from drug addiction. However, it was a turning point for him as he would tour with fellow African American musicians such as Wes Montgomery, Percy Sledge and Aretha Franklin.
Eventually, Frank Edwards was back with a new album called Live At Auditorium. It was his first album to feature a full band and was recorded at the legendary studios of RCA Records in Los Angeles. It was also his first album to feature an all-star cast headed by the legendary singer and songwriter, Aretha Franklin. It’s interesting to note that this band was headed by one of his former guitar players, Buddy Holly, who is now dead. For the most part, Live At Auditorium featured a variety of covers of original songs and some original songs were sung by a backup band called the Blackfoot Brothers.
Besides Live At Auditorium, another album which can be considered a classic of Frank Edwards history would be his sophomore album entitled God Save The World. It would also feature an all star cast that includes Aretha Franklin and Wes Montgomery. It’s interesting to note that his wife named Edith was on this band as well as her cousin and brother. She sang backup vocals. If you’re familiar with her lyrics, you’ll know that her words appear on his hit song from the same album as God Save The World.
So, in summation, it appears that God Save The World may have been the first album to feature an all African American band playing Frank Edwards music. It also features an all star cast including Aretha Franklin and her cousin and brother, Buddy Holly. It also featured a cover version of the original song by The Blackfoot Brothers, which you may be familiar with. All in all, this album was a huge success and has consistently sold throughout the years because of its unique production and quality lyrics.
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