March 20, 1937 |
Stringtown, Mississippi, United States
|Early 1950s - present|
In his teenage years, Shaw played tenor saxophone with local blues musicians, such as Little Milton and Willie Love. At the age of 14, he played in a jam session in Greenville, Mississippi, with Ike Turner's band. At a gig in Itta Bena, Mississippi, when the then 20-year-old Shaw performed, Muddy Waters invited him to join his Chicago-based band.
In Waters's band, Shaw divided the tenor saxophone position with A.C. Reed. In 1972 he joined Howlin' Wolf, leading his band, the Wolf Gang, and writing half the songs on The Back Door Wolf (1973). After the singer's death in 1976 he took over the band and its residency at the 1815 Club, renamed Eddie's Place. Shaw led the band on Living Chicago Blues Vol. 1 and Have Blues - Will Travel (1980) and recorded albums with different backing for Isabel Records, Rooster Blues, and Wolf Records.
Shaw's own recording career started in the late 1970s, with an appearance on the Alligator Records anthology Living Chicago Blues (1978) and his own LPs for Evidence and Rooster Blues, and more recent discs for Rooster Blues (In the Land of the Crossroads) and Wolf (Home Alone).
Shaw's many contributions to the blues include arranging tracks for The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions (which featured Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, Ringo Starr and others) and performing with blues notables, including Hound Dog Taylor, Freddie King, Otis Rush and Magic Sam (on his Black Magic album).
One of his sons, Eddie "Vaan" Shaw Jr. (born November 6, 1955), joined the Wolf Gang and played on some of his father's recordings. A disciple of Wolf's protégé Hubert Sumlin, he has recorded two albums of his own - Morning Rain and The Trail of Tears.