King Curtis’s Robust Saxophone Singles

Saxophonist Curtis Ousley played on songs by Buddy Holly, Aretha Franklin, and John Lennon, but he also made some cool instrumental records for himself.


The great saxophonist Curtis Ousley was an essential part of classic recordings by everyone from The Coasters and Buddy Holly to Aretha Franklin and John Lennon, but he also made some cool instrumental records for himself. Ranging from 1958 to 1971, The Complete Atco Singles features plenty of robust-but-tasteful blowing, sometimes on meaty R&B tracks (“Jump Back,” “Memphis Soul Stew”), and sometimes on surprisingly appealing covers of other people’s hits (“Ode to Billie Joe,” “Whole Lotta Love”). Among the intriguing obscurities is the dreamy 1959 single “Heavenly Blues,” a foray into lounge music produced by Leiber and Stoller. If King Curtis’ solo work was an afterthought, it was consistently entertaining regardless.

Courtesy of Real Gone Music

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate