King Curtis Ousley

The Weight

King Curtis - Instant Groove - Atco 228 027 (uk) 1969

Instant Groove; Hey Joe, Foot Pattin'; Witcita Lineman; Games People Play; Sing A Simple Song; The Weight; La Jeanne; Little Green Apples; Somewhere; Hold Me Tight; Hey Joe

Produced by: Tom Dowd

Loving 60's Soul from an early age I always had great respect for the sax break or bridge on up-tempo stuff. It seams to come out of the late 40's & 50's style of 'live jazz' and worked it's way to contemporary soul. 'King' Curtis Ousley was always found on the Atlantic classics with Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and his first success The Coasters Yackty Yack.

So it led to myself buying lots of sax albums, this one in particular is good because he plays the popular 'black' tunes of the day. On the Weight, written by Jamie Robertson (and a hit record for Aretha) he expels and so does Duanne Allman with his slide guitar riffs a trademark of some blues guitarists. Other great footage of him is found at Aretha's Live at Filmore West album where he heads the band and is joined by Ray Charles from the audience.

Sadly though Curtis was knifed down in 1971 I think it was not long after the video clip of him doing his big hit single Memphis Soul Stew found at the end of this blog.

Wikipidia details: On Friday August 13, 1971, at the height of a New York heat wave, King Curtis was carrying an air conditioner unit into his apartment at 50W.86th St. He found his access blocked by two men administering drugs to themselves. He asked them to move, there was a scuffle, and one of the men, later identified as Juan Montanez, stabbed King Curtis in the heart with a knife. (According to Sam Moore, the attack was witnessed by Aretha Franklin and Moore himself, both of whom were arriving at Curtis's apartment to discuss recording sessions he was producing for them.) Curtis was hurried to Roosevelt Hospital, but was dead on arrival.

The funeral was held four days later. As the mourners filed in, Curtis' Kingpins played an hour long version of "Soul Serenade" and a number of musicians got up to play. Jesse Jackson preached the service, and Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Cissy Houston, Brook Benton and Duane Allman were among those attending. Aretha sang the closing spiritual, 'Never Grow Old'. The Atlantic Records office closed for the day.

Curtis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 6, 2000.

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