Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Joy of Sax

Saxophones rule. They are at once responsible for both the happiest and the saddest sounds in music. But popular music these days, (outside of The Dap Kings/Amy Winehouse) seems to have forgotten about horns altogether. And that, in my humble opinion, is part of the reason contemporary music—what passes for both rock'n'roll and R&B—sucks.

Saxophones are scary. There is no avoiding them—they are confrontational and they are in your face. They express deep emotion, and let's face it, most of us would rather not do that most of the time.

But sometimes you just need that release. That's where the sax comes in. So much great rock'n'roll features the saxophone that it's hard to imagine the music without it. can take away the piano, you can take away the organ. But please don't take away my sax.

Joey Stann and Ed Manion (Asbury Jukes)
Clarence Clemons (E Street Band)
Maceo Parker (James Brown)
Arno Hecht, Crispin Cloe (Uptown Horns)
Junior Walker
Andrew Love, Lewis Collins, Ed, Logan, James Mitchell (The Memphis Horns)
Bobby Keys (Rolling Stones)
Lee Allen (Little Richard, Fats Domino, Clarence "Frogman" Henry)
Steve Douglas, Jay Migliori, Jim Horn, Plas Johnson (The Wrecking Crew)
Hank Crosby, Andrew "Mike" Toney, Norris Patterson, Thomas "Beans" Bowles, Teddy Buckner, Ronnie Wakefield, Lefty Edwards, Eli Fontaine, Ernie Rodgers (The Funk Brothers)
Louis Jordan
Gene Barge (Church Street Five)
Gene Upshaw ("Come Go With Me")
Herb Hardesty (Fats Domino)
King Curtis. Duh.

There are more, and that list is biased. That's the point. And feel free to advise me of major omissions (though I may not listen).

PS—even Mr. Westerberg has saxophones on "Can't Hardly Wait" (courtesy Jim Dickinson and the Memphis Horns). Need more proof than that?


NOTE: I am currently reading Pattie Boyd's memoir, Wonderful Tonight. Yes, I know Eric Clapton is a major league tool and responsible for what is perhaps the most annoying, offensive song in the annals of rock history (unfortunately, also the title of her book). But it turns out that Pattie's a) a pretty good writer and b) far more interesting than Clapton will ever be. Plus there's lots of good Beatles gossip, and for those of us who can't get enough, that's more than enough reason to read.

We need more intelligent rock chicks like her (both onstage and off), but that's the subject of another blog for another day.

Selling Points Too

By popular request:

I like it on top.
Size 8 1/2, but my left foot is a little bigger than my right.
Corona with lime and tequila shots. Vodka tonics and margaritas with salt. And sometimes Bloody Marys.
Bob Dylan is a genius. Clapton bores me to tears.
Fishnets and (occasionally) cigarettes.
Cheese ravioli, french fries, grilled cheese on rye and corn on the cob.
I'm a good kisser but I don't get much practice.
I took ballet for 4 years and totally fucked up my knees.
Yes, that's my heart on my sleeve.
I have big hands and my ears stick out.
There is nothing better than a rock'n'roll road trip.
Independent record stores and independent bookstores.
I'm a pretty good swimmer and used to be a certified lifeguard.
I'm not really a girly girl but don't be surprised if I get a manicure now and then.
I love Paul McCartney. Why won't he call me?
I've never been to Europe but I love Canada.
Boys with guitars.
Long slow dinners by candlelight.
I used to know how to sail but haven't done it since I was a teenager.
I played one of the rats in a production of The Nutcracker and got to wear a badass costume with a big rat head.
Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall and Susan Sarandon.
Brown hair, brown eyes.
I can't cook and I don't care.
I am from Washington DC, birthplace of Marvin Gaye, Duke Ellington and Henry Rollins.
Bikini underwear and bikini bathingsuits. Just not on men.
Red wine at room temperature. Pinot grigio chilled.
I love mankind, it's people I can't stand.
Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding.
I love the outdoors and enjoy hiking and camping. Just don't make me put up the tent.
Jack Lemmon, Paul Newman, Henry Fonda and Humphrey Bogart.
Hot bubble baths and hot sex.
Truman Capote before alcohol and fame ruined him.
"I love the boys, I really do. But there's a reason ladies my age are as pissed off as they are." – Raff (my hero)
Walking in the rain and violent thunderstorms.
Leather jackets, tight jeans and motorcycle boots.
I'm a beach bum. Just give me a good book, some sunscreen and a cooler full of diet Coke with lime (and maybe a couple Coronas) and leave me alone.
Austin, San Francisco, Chicago. St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia.
George Lucas lost it after American Graffiti.
Wrap your legs 'round these velvet rims and strap your hands 'cross my engines.
Um, Paul Westerberg.

For J.T.

My heart hangs on my sleeve it is a dead weight that grows heavier by the day.
But I don't know who else to be so it beats there and will not be silenced.