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SOTW Columnist/ Forum Contributor 2014, Disti
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Just a FEW of his recordings. If you see any errors let me know. If you have songs to add please do so;

CONFIDENTIAL-SONNY KNIGHT
PLAS JOHNSON (solo) TENOR intro followed by SAX SECTION.

EDDIE MY LOVE-TEEN QUEENS

PLAS JOHNSON – TENOR
(per Plas Johnson)JEWELL GRANT - BARITONE and maybe JACKIE KELSO – ALTO.

IT ISN’T RIGHT-THE PLATTERS
PLAS JOHNSON – TENOR

STRANDED IN THE JUNGLE-THE CADETS
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

BONY MORONIE-LARRY WILLIAMS
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR
JEWEL GRANT (per STUART COLMAN) BARITONE

HE’S MINE-THE PLATTERS
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

I’M WALKING-RICKY NELSON
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

RAUNCHY-ERNIE FREEMAN

PLAS JOHNSON - ALTO

SEND FOR ME-NAT KING COLE
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

BONY MORONIE-LARRY WILLIAMS
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

CERVEZA-BOOTS BROWN
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

CHA HUA HUA-PETS
PLAS JOHNSON - SAX SECTION with TENOR SOLO

CHANSON D’ AMOUR (SONG OF LOVE)-ART & DOTTY TODD
PLAS JOHNSON – TENOR

FOR YOUR LOVE-ED TOWNSEND
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

JENNIE LEE-JAN & ARNIE
PLAS JOHNSON – TENOR

RAMROD-DUANE EDDY
PLAS JOHNSON – TENOR

APPLE BLOSSOM TIME-TAB HUNTER
PLAS JOHNSON - SAX SECTION with TENOR solo.

BABY TALK-JAN & DEAN
PLAS JOHNSON (solo) TENOR
? BARITONE

IN THE MOOD-ERNIE FIELDS ORCHESTRA
PLAS JOHNSON TENOR and BARITONE
According to Mr. Johnson there was no other sax player in that session so he apparently overdubbed the bari part; "Yeah, sounds like me". Plas Johnson, 10/8/2011

KOOKIE, KOOKIE, LEND ME YOUR COMB-EDD BYRNES & CONNIE STEVENSS
PLAS JOHNSON – TENOR

PETER GUNN-RAY ANTHONY
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR(per telephone conversation with Ray Anthony)

PRETTY GIRLS EVERYWHERE-EUGENE CHURCH

PLAS JOHNSON - BARITONE

PRIMROSE LANE-JERRY WALLACE
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

SOME KIND-A EARTHQUAKE-DUANE EDDY
PLAS JOHNSON – TENOR

THE WONDER OF YOU-RAY PETERSON
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

COUNTRY BOY-FATS DOMINO
PLAS JOHNSON (SOLO) TENOR

FOOT STOMPING-PART 1 - THE FLARES

PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

YOU MUST HAVE BEEN A BEAUTIFUL BABY-BOBBY DARIN
PLAS JOHNSON and NINO TEMPO - SAX SECTION

LIMBO ROCK-CHAMPS
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR
“Hi John,

I saw that Jimmy Seals is listed as the sax player on “Limbo Rock” by the Champs. It is in fact Plas Johnson, who also plays flute on the record. From this session on (on November 16, 1961), most of the Champs tracks were recorded by session musicians (members of the Wrecking Crew), like Tommy Tedesco, Jackie Kelso, Bill Pitman, Howard Roberts and Earl Palmer. I have seen some of the session contracts of the later Champs sessions, including the one for the “Limbo Rock”/“Tequila Twist” session”.

Kind regards,
Dik de Heer
8/19/16

SURFER’S STOMP-THE MARKETTS
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

This Hollywood, California-based instrumental group rose to prominence during the surfing craze of the early 60s. Ben Benay (guitar), Mike Henderson (saxophone), Ray Pohlman (bass), Gene Pello (drums) and Richard Hobriaco, then Tom Hensey (keyboards). They had two hits in 1962 with “Surfer’s Stomp’ and Balboa Blue” which featured Plas Johnson, before scoring a million-seller the following year with the pulsating “Out Of Limits.” They secured another Top 20 entry in 1966 with the then-popular “Batman Theme.” By the 70s, Benay was established in Los Angeles session circles. Pohlman pursued a similar career, working with, among others, Emmylou Harris, while Hensey became Neil Diamond’s keyboard player.

However;
http://www.onlinedrummer.com/articles/the-secret-60s-hit-regime-the-wrecking-crew/


Some members of The Wrecking Crew struggled with it, however. Plas Johnson recalls a disheartening situation with “Surfer’s Stomp” by The Marketts;

“I think it’s a little different when you’re a horn player and you’re asked to play the introduction, and play the first chorus … and play the first solo, and then play the fade on the end. And the damn thing comes out, and it doesn’t have your name on it. Worse than not getting the money is to have … to have played on a hit record which sold a million copies, and not even have your name on it. And they go dig some white kids up out of high school and put them on the road and call them the name.” – Plas Johnson

PINK PANTHER THEME-HENRY MANCINI
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

MY SPECIAL ANGEL-VOGUES
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

WHAT CAN I SAY-BOZ SCAGGS
PLAS JOHNSON - TENOR

According to Mr. Johnson's ladyfriend (Gaye in L.A.), he is doing well. He still plays in a "rehearsal band" once in a while but no longer playing the long gigs.

What an inspiration he was (and still is) to so many of us who started playing back in the day when a sax solo or sax section was featured on so many Top 100 recordings of all styles of music.
 

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Thanks John! Plas Johnson, one of the greatest tenor players ever, imo. I need to get some more of his recordings, and your list is full of treasures.
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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And probably 500 more;
Let's Go - Routers
In The Mood - Ernie Fields
Peter Gunn - Ray Anthony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0x-SSGH5jg

The list is really much longer. He got that huge, crushing tone and laser-sharp articulation using a Berg stainless 160/? with a Rico Plasticover baritone sax reed, #1 1/2. Really. I don't know of anyone else even attempting anything like that. Sax players today turn their noses up at this unhipness, but none of them will ever get on 1/10 of the records Plas did. A&R men and producers knew what would sell records and Plas had the tenor sax slot locked up tight. In the movies, on TV, on the radio, on the jukebox; when you heard a tenor sax, it was Plas more than any other one player. He was the voice of the tenor sax but he was also the best kept secret in the music business. Nobody on the 'outside' knew anything about him. Even when he cut an album of instrumentals, he had to use the name 'Johnny Beecher' (Sax 5th Avenue). I heard this man from the mid-'50s on. I knew it was the same guy on so many records but I couldn't find out who he was. Finally when I got on SOTW I eventually found out.
 

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fyi, it's Tom Hensley not Hensey.
 

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And, one of my favorites:

In A Mellow Tone on the Van Alexander - Swing! Staged For Sound album where Plas trades licks with Babe Russin (I think...).

Good stuff, John!
 

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SOTW Columnist/ Forum Contributor 2014, Disti
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks. Keep those titles coming so we can find them on Youtube!
 

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SOTW Columnist/ Forum Contributor 2014, Disti
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Discussion Starter #10
From Mr. Johnson's friend;

"Poking around in youtube, and what did I find? Both sides of a 45 I bought in 1956, and which Mr Johnson reminded me that I'd told him over 20 years ago it was my favorite solo of his (Ernie's Journey,) and his favorite solo was on the flip side (Moonglow.) Then I found one with Googie Rene that I've never heard before. Now, that is also one that couldn't be mistaken for anyone else. Enjoy!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp8OaTVfrRA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T16dDGC78SQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RgSARnRoi8

Gaye
 

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SOTW Columnist/ Forum Contributor 2014, Disti
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Discussion Starter #12
He got that huge, crushing tone and laser-sharp articulation using a Berg stainless 160/? with a Rico Plasticover baritone sax reed, #1 1/2. Really. I don't know of anyone else even attempting anything like that. Sax players today turn their noses up at this unhipness, but none of them will ever get on 1/10 of the records Plas did.
Why did many players get away from the wide tip openings of yesteryear? Was it, in part due to the electric stage amplification volume that sent some players to the smaller tip opening and a harder reed with very high baffles to be able to produce a brighter tone to compete with the stage volume? And, in some cases swallowing the stage stand mic in the bell. Or maybe some sax tones changed just to keep pace with "modern" music. I don't know.
 

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1saxman: "He got that huge, crushing tone and laser-sharp articulation using a Berg stainless 160/? with a Rico Plasticover baritone sax reed, #1 1/2. Really. I don't know of anyone else even attempting anything like that."

I started using my Berg stainless 120/0 offset m with 2 1/2 Rico baritone sax reeds about 1965. I learned about it from a touring sax player who was using bari reeds.
 

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Fantastic !!

John you are the MAN, Plas's been my hero for a long time. This is a treasure trove

THANKS
 

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Why did many players get away from the wide tip openings of yesteryear? Was it, in part due to the electric stage amplification volume that sent some players to the smaller tip opening and a harder reed with very high baffles to be able to produce a brighter tone to compete with the stage volume? And, in some cases swallowing the stage stand mic in the bell. Or maybe some sax tones changed just to keep pace with "modern" music. I don't know.
I think it's partly control/intonation issues and partly that changing reeds can be a challenge on bigger tip pieces (especially when the older reed becomes soft compared to a fresh one of the same size). I have a very nice Berg 150/2, but my reeds seem to bend a bit after playing. That's why I don't play bigger tips than 10* pieces, even when I can play them (a Florida Link 10* is my main piece for the last 7 years).

About tone: smaller tip pieces of the same chamber type normally sound brighter and less hollow compared to bigger tip pieces, that could also be a reason that the bigger tip pieces aren't use much anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I started using my Berg stainless 120/0 offset m with 2 1/2 Rico baritone sax reeds about 1965. I learned about it from a touring sax player who was using bari reeds.
That will do the job for sure. I used baritone reeds on a Rovner "Deep V" for years and liked it a lot.
 

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1saxman: "He got that huge, crushing tone and laser-sharp articulation using a Berg stainless 160/? with a Rico Plasticover baritone sax reed, #1 1/2. Really. I don't know of anyone else even attempting anything like that."

I started using my Berg stainless 120/0 offset m with 2 1/2 Rico baritone sax reeds about 1965. I learned about it from a touring sax player who was using bari reeds.
Ernie Watts, for one. His Link is a .150 or bigger if I remember correctly.
I had a Berg 140/0 several years ago that I wish I still had. It was easy to play and it sounded great. The reed and the facing are the keys.
 

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Yeah, I believe Ernie's Link is like .165 or .170

He had Wolfe Tayne make him two at the same time to the same specs. At least according to a couple of the masterclasses on youtube and my bad memory :p
I'm recalling a .165 modified by Phil Barone.
 
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