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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was the only horn in the back-up band for the Coasters, Platters and Drifters show at Va. Beach last night. I was in King Curtis and Plas Johnson heaven! Not much sax in the Platters stuff, but I put some bari in, alternating from just the root to the bass line and trying not to do 'too much'. The Coasters, though, had me working hard with Yakety-Yak and Charlie Brown (King Curtis), Youngblood (Plas Johnson) and others, including 'The Twist'. Just my meat. I would have done it for free...nah. But it was a barrel of fun. Evidently they don't usually have a sax, much less one who knows every R&R solo like the record, because they were grinning from ear to ear. Great show, too.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
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Wow, that sounds like loads of fun and that you were the right guy for the gig, too! I must admit, I don't know those old rock tunes well enough, I'm a jazzer and fake it on the rock gigs. The few rock and roll gigs I get are really fun though.........cheers...........daryl
 

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Amazing! That must have been quite a night, well done!
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Well done.
How many of the original Coasters in the line up? And did they do "Shopping For Clothes"?

I once had the pleasure of MDing a show for some great DooWoop groups inc The Teenagers, Flamingos but the best for me was the Spaniels. Just check out the saxophone solos. A dream come true.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Honestly, I don't think anybody in the groups was original, but they are very dedicated to doing it right. The original people are either dead or elderly by now (elderly to me is 15 years older than me at any given time!LOL!). I was 12 when these songs were out, so that would make them at least 70 now. The Coasters only had a 40 minute set, and 'Shopping For Clothes' is unfamiliar to me. The sax was huge in early R&B and R&R, serving the function of providing a rhythmic background riff to drive the song as well as taking most of the solos with it's exciting raw sound. Most if not all of the great early players had spent time in big bands and were very good players. They liked doing the rock sessions - you can't fake that kind of heart and soul. Plus, sax men back then grew up with the need to play loud, because even into the '60s most places and bands didn't even have PA systems except for the singers and the guitar. Consequently, they developed the huge sounds that you hear on most records (Plas Johnson played a 160/1 Berg with a #2 Plasticover bari reed) . I sat in a club where I was playing in '64 right in front of Fats Domino with Lee Allen on tenor with no mic, and you could hear him across the street. The sax section riffs and solos were eventually replaced by the 'crunch' guitar. Everything changed in the '60s with the 'British invasion', hard rock, etc. - that's when the big PAs appeared, using Altec 'Voice Of The Theater' speaker cabinets with a horn on top. One thing you never hear now is a section of four or five saxes in a rock band playing those riffs - listen to any Little Richard (Good Golly Miss Molly) or Larry Williams (Bony Marony) stuff. This was very exciting and would still be today but it just isn't done. I would never count myself in with the old 'greats' (I'm just a good copycat), but at least I'm out there trying to give some authenticity to the old music when I get the chance to play it.
 

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I should probably work on those, I've done my share of garage rock gigs and should learn more of that stuff.
The only Rock and Roll transcription I've done is Steve Mackaye's playing on the Stooges' 'FunHouse'. Not exactly Motown stuff.
 

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Saxes did rule in R&R in those days. I remember as a teenager in the 50's hearing Ray Charles saxes doing what seemed to be at least a 20min warmup to "the man".
 

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"Shopping for Clothes" is a great tune and kudos to Pete for mentioning it. There'sa radio show here, where the DJ likes to throw this tune in every so often, along with other great stuff. First time I heard it, I had to pull the car over. Track it down if you can.
 
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