Monday, August 07, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-King Curtis

Artist:King Curtis
Song:Soul Twist
Album:Soul Twistin' With The King

Sax player King Curtis was a legend as a sideman and session musician. But he scored a top 20 pop hit in 1962 with Soul Twist. It was his first single for Enjoy Records. He was born Curtis Montgomery Feb. 7, 1934 in Fort Worth, TX. He was adopted and his name changed to Curtis Ousley. He went to high school with Ornette Coleman. After graduating high school, Curtis joined the Lionel Hampton band and learned to arrange music. He moved to New York and became a session musician. He worked for Atlantic Records on records by The Coasters and Ruth Brown. Then he recorded jazz albums for Atco and Prestige. Curtis had recorded a few singles but then he met Bobby Robinson and Curtis agreed to record a couple of singles and maybe an album if things worked out for Robinson's Enjoy label. He likely knew Robinson from Atlantic. The band was called King Curtis and the Noble Knights. Soul Twist was the first single. It topped the R&B charts and reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. The musicians were Ernie Hayes on organ, Billy Butler on guitar, Jimmy Lewis on bass and Ray Lucas on drums. They were all jazz guys working as sidemen. That band only recorded two singles. Curtis did record an album for Enjoy. Those recordings are on this CD from the reissue label Jasmine. Then he released several albums for Capitol. Some of his singles charted. But Soul Twist turned out to be his biggest hit. Curtis moved to Atlantic in 1965 and became part of their studio band. And of course he became famous touring with Aretha Franklin. Sadly, King Curtis was murdered on Aug. 13, 1971 when he got into an argument with a couple of drug dealers. He was moving an air conditioner into his apartment and they blocked him from entering. King Curtis was inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame in 2000. Here's a video of Soul Twist by King Curtis.

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