Monday, August 07, 2017

Saunder's King - Swingin'

With respect to my recent post on St. James Infirmary which I linked on Facebook, one gentleman posted several additional versions of this 'jazz standard.' One of these was by a West Coast artist Saunders King from the forties. Born in Louisiana in 1909, Saunders King was a pioneering electric guitarist and vocalist who straddled the worlds pf blues and jazz in forties and fifties. His S.K. Blues was a hit, and an even bigger hit when covered by Big Joe Turner (and it also was performed by Jimmy Witherspoon and others). King also had a wonderful version of the Mary Lou Williams' penned What's Your Story Morning Glory, that was first recorded by Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy with Pha Terrell handling the vocal.

As a vocalist, King was very much in the vein of Terrell and Billy Eckstine, with a warmth in his baritone. And his jazzy guitar playing was an added attraction to his music. Later he would become Carlos Santana's father-in-law and he even recorded with this musical legend. He passed in 2000 after suffering a stroke in 1999. Ace Records (UK) has a fine CD of his best recordings available. Here are some of his recordings and a couple of covers.

Here is the first part of S.K. Blues.

Here is his rendition of St. James Infirmary.

Here he is playing the aptly titled instrumental Swingin'. 

Here is the uptempo B Flat Blues.

Here is a top-ten R&B hit in 1949, Empty Bedroom Blues

And here is Big Fat Butterfly, a song Dexter Gordon would sometimes perform.

Here is the Dexter Gordon doing Big Fat Butterfly

And we close with Big Joe Turner with Pete Johnson with their hit version of S.K. Blues.

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