Daytona Beach , Florida
"When you are the youngest of 11 children raised by a single mom, there are not a lot of extras left over", reflects Floyd Miles. Floyd was that youngest of nine brothers and one sister born in the spring of 1943 on April 13 th to Pearl Miles.
Early challenges taught him not to be shy about the God-given talents he had likely inherited from James "Show boy" Fields, the father he grew up knowing as a family friend. James did the buck dance, played guitar, broke many a bull and did a few cowboy tricks to earn a dollar.
Before leaving home at the young age of fifteen, Floyd had the opportunity to test that inborn talent and taste the sweet smell of success that the music business can bring to a young man.for Floyd that smell was fried shrimp . Floyd admits that it was the aroma of fresh shrimp wafting from the deep fryer that led him and his nephew, James (Tootie) Miles, to brave their first performance. It was the only way they could figure an uninvited guest might get close enough to the fried shrimp being served at the "adult's only" party. And sing and dance they did while the hat was passed and that tasty shrimp was sampled to an encore rendition of "Daddy's Home". As the boys counted their hat money that night, the stage was set for a life of boogie, blues and soul.
Neighborhood Street corners were host to Floyd's hometown concerts that later found their way into the school dances and teen clubs of Daytona Beach , Florida . The boys from Pine Island débuted as the "Pearl Notes", named for Floyd's mom.
Floyd married "his Claudia" at 17 and it wasn't long before the bluesman became the family man. At eighteen he competed in a local talent contest and won. It was then that he began to seriously consider singing as a way of life. This was the genesis of Daytona Beach Blues.
In the early 1960's Miles performed his first professional gig as a singer with the "Until's, a gritty soul band hugely popular on the oceanfront circuit, founded by his friend (and ultimately producer and owner of Kingsnake Records) Bob Greenlee. Their mainstay was the Ocean Pier, a local teen club where fans Gregg and Duane Allman first connected with Miles and formed a friendship that has spawned decades of rock n roll blues.
In those days, segregation was not yet a thing of the politically incorrect past. There were places in Florida you just didn't go as a "long-hair" or a black man. unless you were a musician. Music knows no barriers. Being a musician allowed you to play both sides of the tracks and the Allman's often mixed it up in the "after hour's" clubs that were a part of Floyd's world. Let's just say that these boys kept life interesting as they moved about town ...
Floyd's unmistakable style caught the eye and ear of "Universals" founder, Lin (Lindsey) Morris who invited Floyd to step in as the group's singer and drummer. Floyd had always been driven by the beat of the drum, but was unable to afford a set of his own and had never learned to play. Recognizing Floyds feel for the drums, Lin brought about the realization of a lifelong dream, and took the time to add training to the talent.
During the next several years Floyd played drums and sang with various other bands before forming his own group to play local gigs behind such artists as Arthur Connelly, Erma Franklin (Aretha's sister), Curtis Mayfield, Eddie Floyd and Percy Sledge. Over the years Floyd remained close friends with Gregg and Duane, and the brothers became regular visitors at Floyd's home. It was through them that Floyd met and traveled with Clarence Carter and Candi Staton. Other collaborative ventures read like a Who's Who of Rock n Roll and Blues memorabilia: . James Brown, The Drifters, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Rufus Thomas, Sam & Dave, Joe Simon, Edgar Winters, Root Boy Slim, Lucky Peterson, Winston Kelly, Alex Taylor, and Warren Haynes. Floyd also did studio work for some of these artists at Muscle Shoals, Alabama . Floyd has also performed for the London Symphony Orchestra. Floyd's music is showcased on CBS's airing of the Daytona races as well.
Again invited to tour nationally with the Allman's, Floyd chose to remain close to home and raise his family. The "Chitin Circuit" of unending travel, taverns and bars was too far from home for this dedicated father, so Floyd chose to put his music on the back burner opting for a position with the Cedar Program. For years Floyd worked with the less fortunate folks of Daytona Beach creating vegetable gardens at their homes.
But those who knew Floyd, or knew of him, were not about to let the bluesman extraordinaire lead a quiet domestic life. Gregg Allman returned to Daytona Beach and insisted that Floyd "Put that shovel down" and come back out on the road.
Returning from tour one evening, Floyd was greeted by an unfamiliar face in his home. It was his own little girl who had grown so very much while he was away. Floyd took a job close to home with the City of Daytona Beach where he worked for ten years until a car accident gave him pause for thought. It was time for the music again.
Floyd's Music on CD includes the 1992 Ichiban release "Crazy Man", followed by "Goin' Back to Daytona" in 1994, and then "Mountain to Climb", (sometimes noted as his most powerful collection) appeared in 1999. The 2001 release of "Another Man Will" completes a decade of published works.
And what of this music that one fan describes as "creating a groove that won't let you sit still"? . Many have tried to emulate it, to "cop the sound". wordsmiths have searched for words of review to share the experience, and their descriptions follow. But there is only one way to experience the music of the bluesman extraordinaire. Be there! . and bring shrimp!