On Thursday August 6, longtime D.C. soul singer Eddie Daye passed away at age 78. Back in 2002, I wrote a feature piece on him for the Washington City Paper. I had heard that he had been ill recently and was in the hospital but have not yet been able to get any other specifics on the cause of death, or his funeral, that is scheduled for Wednesday. I had last seen Eddie in the audience at the Bluebird Blues and Soul Festival at Prince Georges Community College last September. As I will be out of town for most of the next two weeks beginning tomorrow, I am posting this now.
As detailed in my article, I first saw Eddie, who had been vocalizing in DC since the late 1940s and had his own record label, perform in the 1980s at the now defunct Gold Room in Northeast DC. Subsequently I saw Eddie and his late wife, Denise, perform together numerous times at Gee’s 4400 Club, then located in Brentwood, Md., off of Rhode Island Avenue just near the DC line, and at Chuck & Billy’s Lounge on Georgia Avenue NW. This dapper gentleman (usually in a suit although not in the photo from an outdoor show above) and his wife were always so friendly to everyone (and they always wanted to make sure that me and my friends, their youngest and uh palest fans, felt comfortable). In more recent years Eddie’s song “Sexy Senior Citizen (I’m not a dirty old man, I’m just a)” got some airplay on WPFW’s Saturday programming, though some DC residents and a handful of British and European record collectors on Ebay know him best for his vocals with the Four Bars in the ‘50s and ‘60s. While those online and crate-digging fans may cherish copies of his obscure singles (some of which have been reissued on cd), I will just keep my memories of those fun late nights out seeing him sing bluesy soul and my conversations with him about his musical career and his take on 50 plus years of r’n’b history. While there were frequently special guest vocalists joining he and his wife onstage in the ‘80s and ‘90s, this pleasant guy with the deep voice was always the star of the show.
* The photo is by Ron Weinstock of the In a Blue Mood blog (many of his photos are on Flickr).