Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental amanuensis Hop-Sing and I are off to scenic Milford, Ohio (on the Little Miami), for a fabulous July 4th weekend stay at the sumptuous digs of Brian "Lubyanka" Hardig, a/k/a The Ohio Douche, a/k/a The Author of the Greatest Letter to the Editor Ever Written.
Which means that posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days, river crestings and boil advisories permitting.
But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:
Best Saxophone Work (Solo or Section) On a Post-Elvis Pop/Rock Record!!!
Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Seven:
7. Romeo Void -- Never Say Never (Benjamin Bossi)
A great sax line, but so minimal you're not even sure the guy can actually play, which may be the point.
6. The Champs -- Tequila (Danny Flores)
Obnoxious folkies Seals and Crofts were in a later touring version of this band, but you won't be surprised to learn that they have absolutely zip to do with the record "Tequila" itself.
5. A tie --
The Rolling Stones -- Brown Sugar (Bobby Keys)
A roadhouse tenor sax apotheosis. Keys actually played with Buddy Holly in his youth, and it shows.
The Rolling Stones -- Waiting on a Friend (Sonny Rollins)
To our knowledge, the only appearance of an avant-garde jazz titan on a Top 40 hit record.
4. Another tie --
Junior Walker and the All-Stars -- Shotgun (Junior Walker)
Soul sax at its grittiest, although Walker was also a consummate balladeer (cf. "What Does It Take").
Foreigner -- Urgent (Junior Walker)
These guys remain the Most Useless Band in Rock History, but in this case Walker's guest sax solo actually justifies the song title.
3. King Curtis -- Memphis Soul Stew (King Curtis)
Just about every one of the countless records Curtis played on was the best, alas, but this was his biggest solo hit.
2. The Contortions -- I Can't Stand Myself (James Chance)
That's James Chance a/k/a James White a/k/a the No Wave James Brown at Max's Kansas City in 1979 -- a real time capsule of a video. Chance's obligatory Asian (back then we said Oriental) Downtown artist girlfriend not shown, alas.
And the number one sax on a pop/rock record, I can't believe we're even arguing about this it's so fricking obvious, is --
1. Bruce Springsteen -- Jungleland (Clarence Clemons)
Seriously -- forgetting the fact that the performance positively drips atmosphere and emotion, this is as perfectly constructed an instrumental solo as there is in the entire history of popular music; every note is exactly where it should be. Of course, the marvel of it is that although it was put together phrase by laborious phrase over endless time in the studio, the end result sounds utterly spontaneous, as if it was going directly from Clarence's soul to tape. Just amazing.
Alrighty now -- what would your choices be?
[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel (and quite amusing, I think) movie Listomania is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you leave a comment, an angel gets its wings.]