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“E” is for Esquerita (ca. 1935-1986)

“E” is for (ca. 1935-1986). Musician. Born Eskew Reeder, Jr., in Greenville, Esquerita was among the wildest musical acts to grace the formative years of rock and roll. A self-taught pianist, he played in Baptist churches but by his late teens he was performing in Greenville’s Owl Club as “Professor Eskew Reeder.” Brought to the attention of Capitol Records, Esquerita recorded twenty-eight songs for the label in 1958, twelve of which were released the following year in an LP album titled Esquerita! Sporting a six-inch pompadour, rhinestone glasses, and a raucous yet rhythmic piano-playing style, he produced recordings that have been hailed as “some of the most untamed and unabashed sides ever issued by a major label.” Although Esquerita’s early recordings stand as classics among rock and roll aficionados, they did not bring him great success.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.