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Ed Wiley, Jr.

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During the 1950s and '60s, Ed Wiley Jr. recorded for such labels as Atlantic and Chess and also worked with such legends as Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Big Joe Turner, and Big Mama Thorton; then, after putting his horn aside for years to raise his children, the Texas tenor returned in the 1990s, recording new albums and performing regularly. Wiley grew up in Houston and found inspiration in such "Texas tenors" as Arnett Cobb and Illinois Jacquet. He performed his first gig at age 13 and scored his first hit record in 1950 with "Cry, Cry Baby." Wiley had moved from Houston to Baltimore just as the song was becoming a hit and subsequently recorded for Mercury, Chess, and Atlantic. During the early '50s he performed extensively, including a tour out west with blues singer Piney Brown and pianist Roosevelt Wardell, the latter a mainstay of his bands. In 1953 Wiley added vocalist May Robinson to his band and married her a year later. After years of going back and forth between his home in Baltimore and Robinson's in Philadelphia, the couple finally settled in Philly in 1960. At this point Wiley put down his horn and concentrated on raising his family. He worked as a machinist until his children were raised, and then returned to music. He performed mostly on the East Coast and in the 1990s began recording once again, releasing albums such as Until Sunrise (1994) and In Rememberance (1995) through Swing Records, his son's record label. ~ Jason Birchmeier


Houston, TX

Years Active:

'90s, '00s