Friday, April 20, 2007

Saxton Kari & The T.K. Orchestra - Raggedy Ann (Dash 5023)

Raggedy Ann

Just as I did with J Hines a while back, I wanted to bring this record over here to the B side in an attempt to draw some more attention to one of our cases over at soul detective.

Case Four started out as an attempt to find out more about an artist named Charles 'Soul' Brown, who recorded a blistering single for Wardell Quezergue's fledgling NOLA label in 1964. Both sides of the record were written and produced by Sax Kari. Although we have yet to discover any more information about Mister Brown, the case has turned into somewhat of a 'Sax-A-Thon' (a phrase coined by the lovely and talented Dan Phillips), and we've been focusing on Mr. Kari's positively monumental contributions to this music over the years.

Sax came up idolizing Charlie Christian, and took his place at the Lyon's Den in Oklahoma City after Christian died tragically young in 1942. Before long he was leading his own eighteen piece 'big band' and working the clubs out along the circuit. Kari was there at the very birth of the music that would come to be called 'Rhythm & Blues'. In addition to having a top ten hit of his own in 1953, he would go on to produce great records on people like Della Reese and The Falcons, laying the groundwork for 'Soul' as we know it.

Sax Kari worked every angle of the music business, from record store owner and distributor, to running his own label, and virtually inventing the concept of 'promotion'. He developed a network of contacts at 'one-stops' and radio stations throughout the nation that he put to use for independent record men like Don Robey in Houston, Joe Banashak in New Orleans, and Henry Stone in Miami.

Today's selection features Sax on the electric guitar and hails from the mid-seventies period that Kari spent with Stone's T.K. family of labels. Like I said over on SD; "Another of 'Saxton's' fractured easy listening pieces, this time filtered through the disco-era T.K. Orchestra, you just gotta love it. You can almost see yourself cruising along in like a '75 Impala convertible, just digging the scenery..." Yeah, baby.

Anyway, to make a long story short, we've been fortunate enough to be in contact with the now 87 year old Mr. Kari throughout our 'investigation', and had been trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to drum up some interest in booking this living legend for a live performance. Unfortunately, about a month ago, Sax suffered a 'mild' stroke, and is now in a nursing home in Florida undergoing physical therapy to try and regain the use of his right hand.

Despite his recent series of bad breaks, Sax remains positive and hopeful, and continues to write, using a portable keyboard he set up in his room at the nursing home.

You go, Sax!

[You can follow the rest of this story as it develops over at soul detective, as well as at the brand new]


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