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Tibby Edwards
Born:  March 19, 1935
Died:  September 21, 1999
KWKH Louisiana Hayride

About The Artist

Tibby Edwards (born Edwin M. Thibodeaux) had a musical career that landed him a regular spot on the "KWKH Louisiana Hayride" at seventeen and a contract with Mercury Records at eighteen. After military service, he did not pursue his career with much vigor and became a part-time performer. By the 1980's, he was working primarily as a paper hanger, despite having some excellent country and rockabilly numbers in his prime years.

Edwards hailed from Garland, Louisiana and had a strong Cajun ethnic background. His father worked in construction and so the Edwards family moved around Louisiana and East Texas frequently. Edwards met aspiring musician Lefty Frizzell about 1949, and became a virtual protégé of the older man who's career took off the next year. After that Edwards sang in the clubs around Beaumont as did other aspiring musicians as Benny Barnes and George Jones. Then in December 1952, he landed a regular spot on the Hayride about the same time that Hank Williams left to go on what would be his fatal last trip.

Not long afterward, J. D. Miller, a man with some connections, took both Tibby and Jimmie C. Newman to Nashville for an audition with Mercury Records. Although Newman eventually became the bigger name, at the time they accepted Edwards and rejected Newman. Edwards later quipped "looking back on it . . . they may have made a mistake." The eighteen year old had his first Mercury session in August 1953.

Promo Ad - Roge Valley Ballroom - Medford, OR - Lefty Frizzell - Tibby Edwards - Billy Gray - October 1955
Promo Ad - Lake Margaret (The Wigwam) - Forest Hill, LA - Louisiana Hayride - Tibby Edwards - Red River Ranch Boys - February 1957

Promo Ad - KWKH Louisiana Hayride - Municipal Auditorium - Shreveport, LA - Benny Barnes - Bob Gallion - Martha Lynn - Tibby Edwards - Buddy Attaway - James O'Gwynn - Johnny Mathis - Eddy Noack - December 1956
Promo Ad - Arizona Hayride - Madison Square Garden - Phoenix, AZ - Tibby Edwards - Sunset Riders - December 1955

Promo Ad - Fine Arts Auditorium - Natchitoches, LA - Benny Barnes - Tibby Edwards - Betty Amos - Margie Singleton - Alton Jones - January 1957
Promo Ad - Fine Arts Auditorium - Natchitoches, LA - Louisiana Hayride - Jimmy and Johnny - Betty Amos - Tibby Edwards - October 1954

Promo Ad - Louisiana Hayride - KWKH - Jim Reeves - Jack Hunt - Carolyn Bradshaw - Tibby Edwards - Paul Howard - Big Spring Municipal Auditorium - Big Springs, TX - December 1953
Promo Ad - Municiapl Auditorium - Shreveport, LA - Tibby Edwards - Claude King - Floyd Cramer - Louisiana Hayride - December 31, 1953

Promo Ad - Club La Louisiane - New Iberia, LA - Tibby Edwards - Sleepy LaBeef - Sonny Collins - May 1957
Promo Ad - Mayfair Building - Tyler, TX - Lee Bonds - Jack Hunt - Tibby Edwards - Little Joe - January 1954

Promo Ad - March of Dimes Dance - Club Coronado - Shreveport, LA - Tibby Edwards - Carolyn Bradshaw - T. Tommy Cutrer - Betty Amos - Buddy Attaway - January 1955
Promo Ad - Moonlight Inn - Opelousas, LA - Abe Manuel and his Louisianna Hillbillies - Tibby Edwards - October 1953

Tibby Edwards
Record Reviews
The Cash Box and The Billboard

Date Label Rec No. Review
8/15/1953 (BB) Mercury 70189 Why Can't You Be Mine? — Edwards has a backwoods sound and style which could please many a buyer. The material is above average, too. (Rating: 70)

Come On Chere — Ditty manages to name some of the Louisiana towns in the Cajun territory, tho the ditty doesn't have too much Cajun feeling, despite the tile. Edwards impresses with his singing and French. (Rating: 70)
11/28/1953 (CB) Mercury 70236 If You Love Me Let Me Know It — Tibby Edwards etches a middle tempo romantic tune in distinctive style. Adequate strings back the artist. (Rating: C+)

Walkin' And Cryin' With The Blues — The warbler puts over this moderate beat piece with telling effect. Tune and lyrics blend in feelingful fashion. (Rating: B)
2/6/1954 (BB) Mercury 7539 That's How I Lost — "My whole life as lost. 'těl the day 1 found you." Tibby Edwards belts out the song in his individual style. (Rating: 72)

Too Proud To Wear My Name — Much emotion and sadness is registered by Tibby Edwards as he sings this song of unrequited love. (Rating: 71)
2/13/1954 (CB) Mercury 7539 Too Proud To Wear My Name — Tibby Edwards lends his distinctive vocal talent to a touching, quick tempo item. A top drawer effort with an easy string backing. General effect is stirring and rich. (Rating: B)

That's How I Lost — Flip is a moderate beat piece that Edwards warbles softly and with a tender quality that carries across his sad feeling. Two fine sides turned in by the country chanter. (Rating: B)
9/18/1954 (CB) Mercury 70454 Try To Understand — Tibby Edwards comes up with an impressive reading as he delivers a quick tempo romantic item. Deck should attract a goodly share of the sales and spins. Soft string backing. (Rating: B)

Uninvited — On the reverse etching Edwards puts a great deal of expression into his delivery as he waxes a moderate tempo weeper with emotion packed lyrics. (Rating: C+)
6/25/1955 (BB) Mercury 70640 Shift Gears — Edwards sings out with verve and good humor on a catchy ditty with a bouncy beat. (Rating: 69)

Play It Cool, Man, Play It Cool — Same comment. (Rating: 69)
6/25/1955 (CB) Mercury 70640 Shift Gears — Tibby Edwards comes up with an enticing vocal effort on a delectable, quick beat novelty that rides merrily along in happy style. (Rating: B)

Play It Cool, Man, Play It Cool — On the under half Edwards waxes another tasteful biscuit in easy-on- the-ears, up tempo fashion. An appealing two-sider. (Rating: B)
10/15/1955 (CB) Mercury 70719 C'Est Si Tout (That's All) — Tibby Edwards takes hold of a flavorful, quick beat ditty and delivers it with plenty of zip. A catchy piece of material that could be a clicker. (Rating: B+)

It'll Be A Long, Long Time — Edwards turns in a fine reading on this touching, middle tempo, romantic lament. A potent coupling. (Rating: B)
3/10/1956 (CB) Mercury 70816 I Can't Face The Future — Tibby Edwards dishes up a grade “A” vocal effort as he waxes a middle beat lover’s lament with heartbreaking lyrics. (Rating: B)

You Made A Believer Out Of Me — The future, however, is brighter on this end as Edwards tells about a gal who convinced him that love can be a happy thing. Dandy, quick beat coupler. (Rating: B)
12/15/1956 (BB) Starday 278 Fool That I Was — Edward bemoans his stupidity in trusting a woman. He packs solid punch on the tearful lyrics. The backing Is properly bouncy. Could grab juke box coin. (Rating: 75)

I Don't Want To Say I Love You — Reluctantly, Edwards admits to an absent sweetie that he hasn't been able to forget her. Some cute moments here, but the material is not very fresh. (Rating: 69)
1/26/1957 (BB) Mercury 71036 I Asked For More — Driving guitar, honky took piano and fine country fiddling provide solid backing to this strong vocal by Tibby Edwards. Latter puts his heart into the delivery. (Rating: 72)

But I Do — A weeper, but with elements of a novelty. The , lyric changes pace, giving the side an unusual effect. (Rating: 72)
2/9/1957 (CB) Mercury 71036 I Asked For More — Attractively showcased by an engaging, steady-driving musical backdrop Tibby Edwards forcefully decks out a standout blues piece. Could catch and stir up a heap of noise. (Rating: B+)

But I Do — With telling effect Edwards cries out that he can’t get her off his mind. A persuasive, middle beat weeper that helps make this coupling a double-barreled coincatcher. (Rating: B)
8/15/1959 (CB) D 1081 One More Night — Edwards pleads for another chance at romance on this slightly upbeat lilter. Down home flavor. (Rating: B)

Memory Of A Lie — At same pace Edwards continues flood of tears. (Rating: B)
10/14/1961 (CB) D 1081 Teen-Age Troubles — Songster, a former country artist now going after the teen market, heads a lazy country-styled grow-on-you item that takes a semi-humorous view of a “hard-luck” kid. (Rating: B)

Daydreamin' — Attractive light-beat country-inclined work here. (Rating: B)

With five years at the Hayride and nearly as long at Mercury, Edwards seemed to be propelled to the level of stardom that other KWKH veterans experienced. These included Webb Pierce, Faron Young, George Jones, and eventually Elvis Presley and Johnny Horton, but it never quite happened. His songs were good. He did Jimmie Newman's "Cry, Cry Darling" before the composer did it, but Jimmie had the hit on Dot the next year.

When rockabilly hit, his "Flip, Flop and Fly" were as good as any. His session musicians were among the best. Tibby worked with and was friends with all the others — but never made it out of Shreveport — Horton also remained at KWKH, but had the big hits).

In 1958, Edwards was drafted and inducted into the army within a few days of when his friend Elvis entered the service (but without all the fanfare). As he later recalled, "Once I got out of the army for one reason or another, I just never got back into it. For some years, he did continue as a part-time performer and cut singles on the smaller labels.

Eventually, Tibby settled in Baton Rouge where he worked as a painter and paper hanger. In 1985, Bear Family Records reissued sixteen of his Mercury sides on an album with quality notes by Bob Allen.

When he died fourteen years later, his brief obituary in the Baton Rouge Advocate failed to mention that he had once been a star on the KWKH Louisiana Hayride. His tombstone uses only the name Edwin "Bill" Thibodeaux and his birth and death dates.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com would like to express its thanks to Ivan M. Tribe, author of Mountaineer Jamboree — Country Music in West Virginia and other books that can be found on Amazon.com and numerous articles in other publications for providing us with information about this artist.
  • KWKH's Louisiana Hayride Souvenir Album; Shreveport, LA
  • Hillbilly & Western Hoedown; March 1954; Vol. 1 No. 7; Hoedown, Inc.; Cincinnati, OH

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1081 A Memory Of A Lie
  1081 B One More Night
Jin Records
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  138 A Congratulations To You
  138 A Congratulations To You
  138 B Forever Is A Long Time
  138 B Forever Is A Long Time
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  70236 A If You Love Me, Let Me Know It
  70236 B Walkin' And A Cryin' With The Blues
  70314 A Too Proud To Wear My Name
  70314 B That's How I Was Lost
  70347 A Mine Forever
  70347 B Cry,Cry Darlin'
  70408 A I'm Still In Love With You
  70408 B If You Lose You'll Understand
  70454 A Try To Understand
  70454 A Try To Understand
  70454 B Uninvited
  70454 B Uninvited
  70518 A Just A Few More Tears
  70518 A Just A Few More Tears
  70518 B What Has Become of You
  70518 B What Has Become Of You
  70591 A Flip, Flop and Fly
  70591 A Flip, Flop And Fly
  70591 B There Ain't No Better Time
  70591 B There Ain't No Better Time
  70640 A Play It Cool Man, Play It Cool
  70640 A Play It Cool Man, Play It Cool
  70640 B Shift Gears
  70640 B Shift Gears
  70719 A C'est Si Tout
  70719 B It'll Be A Long, Long Time
  70816 A You Made A Believer Out Of Me
  70816 B I Can't Forget The Future
  71036 A I Asked For More
  71036 B But I Do
  71113 A Long Time Gone
  71113 B I'd Come Running
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  278 A Fool That I Was
  278 B I Don't Want To Say I Love You
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1065 A Daydreamin'
  1065 B Teenage Trouble

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