Floyd Council was born on the 2nd of September 1911 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina – again, not Georgia. He began his career playing in the streets of Chapel Hill in the mid-‘20s with musical brothers Leo and Thomas Strowd; the latter is said to have taught him a great deal.
Floyd occasionally worked with Blind Boy Fuller in the ‘30s, which may have led to his first recording sessions. In late January 1937 ACR Records scout John Baxter Long heard him, playing alone on a street in Chapel Hill. It was Long who had first brought Fuller to NYC to record in July 1935.
Long invited Floyd to join Fuller on his third trip to New York. Floyd agreed, and a week later the three travelled to the city. Accounts leave it uncertain as to whether Floyd was intended to be a solo or backing musician, but his recorded legacy seems to suggest the latter.
During his second visit to New York in December, Floyd was used as a second guitar only. His solo tracks were later issued under the name ‘Blind Boy Fuller’s buddy’.
Floyd was also promoted as ‘Dipper Boy Council’, and ‘The Devil’s Daddy-in-Law’; these were probably the invention of record companies, not genuine nicknames.
In a 1969 interview, Floyd recalled having recorded twenty-seven titles. The documented tracks are: six as a soloist; seven backing Fuller; two, unissued, from December 1937, featuring blues harmonica legend Sonny Terry; and three, again unissued, from late in his career with another harp player.
Floyd performed around Chapel Hill through the ‘40s and ‘50s, both with Thomas Strowd and on his own; playing at country clubs, the Elks home and on local radio, where he is said to have often sung non-blues material. Floyd slowed and eventually stopped playing, owing to an unspecified illness dating from 1963. In the late ‘60s, a stroke partially paralysed his throat muscles and slowed his motor skills. These debilitating handicaps aside, he said to have been quite sharp mentally.
Floyd moved to Sanford, North Carolina, where he died in June 1976. His final recordings, made in August 1970, did not, apparently, merit release. Older musicians in Orange County NC none the less remember Floyd as one of the area’s best guitarists.
The curious Pink Floyd fan that seeks out the recordings of these men will find gritty Negro blues, which – while not relevant to rock and roll – is unfamiliar to most modern music fans. Lest we forget, however, the likes of John Mayall, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and Syd Barrett cherished this music, and it is an important root of modern rock.
I can find no evidence that Pink and Floyd ever recorded together, met, or even heard of each other.
Nor does it appear they ever shared the same vinyl, such as a compilation. I conclude that the pairing of these names was totally random.