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Bill Doggett & Clifford Scott

John Laughter

Well-Known Member
Bill Doggett & Clifford Scott
Clifford Scott was born December 21, 1928, in San Antonio, Texas. He began playing at the Keyhole Club in 1946. He worked with Lionel Hampton from 1948 to 1950. He performed with the R&B bands of Roy Milton and Roy Brown until 1953. He rejoined Hampton again, then left in 1954 to study music in New York and joined Bill Doggett in 1956. While with Doggett, the classic “Honky Tonk” was recorded. His four part tenor solo with the trademark intro and thumping R&B Hammond filled airwaves and dance halls across the nation for several years. It was performed in every club, bar, and roadhouse imaginable and by many bands that were fortunate to have a sax player. It also introduced many young sax players to the unique “flutter tongue” technique used in the fourth solo. Clifford Scotts’s tone, technique, and overall style in “Honky Tonk” would have a far reaching effect on many sax players for years to come.

In 1961, he left for Los Angeles to work at the Parisian Room. He moved back to San Antonio in 1976 and was active until his death on April 19, 1993.

“Honky Tonk” came together in February, 1956, during the many one-night stands the group played coast to coast. At first hearing, there was nothing fancy about it. However, Doggett knew he had a potential dance hit as night after night he received positive response from the crowd. “Honky Tonk” was recorded for King Records in its New York studio on June 16, 1956. The success of “Honky Tonk” was a two-edged sword. The group received offers for numerous bookings but most were to appear in rock and roll settings, and the group did not consider themselves rock and roll.

The following comes from John Broven’s sleeve notes for the CD “Honky Tonk!” - Ace 761. “Honky Tonk” was conceived by Clifford Scott and Billy Butler (who played guitar in Doggett’s combo) in an informal hotel room jam session before a dance in Lima, Ohio. That night, on stage and without rehearsal, Butler told Bill Doggett and drummer Shep Shepherd to “just play a shuffle” and when they got through the people started to applaud. They wouldn’t get off the dance floor, they just continued to stand there and applaud “more, more, more..” So they did it again, played some other tunes and had an intermission, and when they came back the audience started yelling “We wanna hear that tune!” And they didn’t even have a name for it. When the band got back to New York, they set up a recording session with a studio down on 31st Street. The engineer turned the machine on, he goes out to take a smoke - he wasn’t regulating the controls, he wasn’t doing anything - and Doggett’s band went on and just played. When they started to stop, he said “Keep it up!”, which they did and that’s how it became a two-sided record. “Honky Tonk”, parts 1 & 2, went to # 2 on the pop charts and # 1 on the R&B charts in 1956. Writing credit goes to B. Doggett, S. Shepherd, C. Scott and B. Butler.


"Recorded by King Records on June 16th, 1956 in New York, this famous R&B instrumental sold over 1 million 500 copies topped the Billboard charts for the entire summer of 1956 and was #2 nationally, second to Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel.”

“Honky Tonk” was recorded as Parts 1 and 2 of King Records 78rpm# 4950 and featured the now legendary guitar and sax solo work of Combo members, Billy Butler and Clifford Scott, the cool drum work of Shep Shepard crowned by the innovative Hammond organ work of Doggett.

Historically, “Honky Tonk” was the breakthrough crossover R&B instrumental to be etched into the Soul of an American cultural and musical earthquake of the summer of 1956, called Rock n Roll. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland honors “Honky Tonk” as one of the top 500 songs that shaped Rock n’ Roll.

Also earning Billboard’s Top Crown Award and Top R&B Combo Award, along with Cash Box’s Most Programmed Instrumental Combo, “Honky Tonk” was recently inducted into The Hall of Fame of Memphis’ The Blues Foundation in May 2006.
Remembering “Honky Tonk”, the top R&B instrumental of 1956 Sock Hops and High School Proms, a landmark recording that laid the foundation of inspiration for Rhythm and Blues and Jazz Organists and Combos for decades to come".
Written by Bill Doggett II, nephew/namesake of Honky Tonk Bill Doggett.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vk_ccQ_yxBM

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxFiSrZRo4Y



BLIP BLOP (1958)

HOLD IT (1958)



Here is a listing of Bill Doggett’s recordings;



I can't confirm the name of the saxophone player on any of the recordings other than "Honky Tonk" and "Slow Walk". There are some names on the Internet but I do not know if the credits are for the original recordings or subsequent issues.

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