Taming The Saxophone

Joe Farrell

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
I knew i liked his style, love that tune

AWB too
Played sax solo on Pick up the Pieces
The "She's Gone" solo played on a gold plated Selmer Cigar Cutter alto with a white Brilhart mouthpiece played through a harmonizer - I'm a bit sceptical about Joe playing the tenor sax solo on "Pick Up The Pieces" - I've got a copy of the original AWB album right in front of me and the only sax player listed on the credits other than Roger Ball and Malcolm (Molly) Duncan is Mike Brecker, but hey who knows a lot of players were never properly credited on albums...

Greg S.
 
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David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
581
Location
London
I knew i liked his style, love that tune
AWB too
Played sax solo on Pick up the Pieces
Extraordinary! I had to go back and listen to the original. It could be :eek:!


But I retain scepticism, there has been a lot of mis-information about solos on pop records - e.g. Baker Street! An older pro I knew (who has now deceased) claimed to me in all seriousness that he had played the solo on Baker Street. In actual fact I think he was one of a number of sax players called in to do the solo who were then consigned to the 'muted' channel (sort of like the 'cutting room floor', but I didn't want to mix mediums!).
 

John Laughter

Member
Messages
285
Location
Macon,GA
Hope this helps a little;

#1 PICK UP THE PIECES— AVERAGE WHITE BAND

MALCOLM “MOLLY” DUNCAN (SOLO) TENOR

ROGER BALL - ALTO/BARI

Additional musicians on the Atlantic recording Average White Band: Randy Brecker-trumpet, Mel Davis-trumpet, Marvin Stamm-trumpet, Glenn Ferris-trombone, Michael Brecker-tenor sax

Malcolm “Molly” Duncan was born August 24, 1945, in Montrose, Scotland, into a family of architects. He played clarinet in his teens for youth orchestras and local operatic societies. He rose to fame as an original member of Average White Band and then went on to be an integral part of the Eurythmics touring band. Duncan presently lives in Spain and runs a music school and sometimes still records with various groups, but for the most part, touring with another band is probably out for now.

The original members of Average White Band included Alan Gorrie (singer/bassist), Hamish Stuart (guitar), Onnie McIntyre (guitar), Malcolm Duncan (tenor sax), Roger Ball (keyboards/sax), and Robbie McIntosh (drums). In 1975, “Cut The Cake” scored a Top 10 hit. In 1976 they recorded their final Top 40 hit, “Queen of My Soul.” Average White Band disbanded in 1982 and reformed in 1989 and continued to tour through 1996, with a release of Soul Tattoo. Their live album, Face To Face, was released in 1999.

12/12/2005

“Hi John,

Thanks for your e-mail. I’ll have a look for some pics and send them on to you.

As I recall, we recorded Pick Up The Pieces on a Friday all except the sax solo. So Arif called in Roger Ball (alto sax) and me on Saturday morning as we had not decided whether to use alto or tenor for the solo. Arif thought it more suited the tenor and I did a couple of takes and went home. Although I loved the tune, I couldn’t see it being a commercial success---after all who’s going to buy an instrumental?”

Kind Regards, Molly

Malcolm Duncan
Spain

*********************************************************************************************************************************************************************

#2 BAKER STREET—GERRY RAFFERTY
RAPHAEL RAVENSCROFT - ALTO


Raphael Ravenscroft has played for artists ranging from Marvin Gaye to Pink Floyd. “Baker Street” is his most well known saxophone solo. In 1979, Ravenscroft recorded a solo album, Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway. He has also performed with Chris Rea, Ian Gomm, Alvin Lee, Robert Plant, ABBA, Kim Carnes, Red Rider, Mike Oldfield, Roger Waters, Willie & The Poor Boys, and Phil Collins’ Brand X, in addition to two more LPs with Gerry Rafferty. In 1990, Ravenscroft also published a successful instruction book, The Complete Saxophone Player.

Legend tells us that the solo on Baker Street apparently happened by accident. The part was originally written for guitar and Raphael was booked to play just a short introduction on soprano saxophone. When the guitarist did not show, Raphael said he had an alto sax in the boot of his car and why not try it with him playing the solo. Ravenscroft played the part not really expecting it to become the standout track from the album which made him famous.


"Please send an email for the most recent list as I am currently in pre production of a series on sax players".

Thank you
Raf Ravenscroft=”

(List sent)

“Thanks mate.Thank you so much for your help will be in touch soon.”
Raf

11/12/2007

CD book sent.

“Dear John

Thank you so much for the CD: It really is the most brilliant piece of work. I should love to have a chat with you regarding my own project.

Thanks mate”

Raphael Ravenscroft

11/11/07

Rafferty’s perfect pop moment came in 1978 with ‘Baker Street’, a song of hoarse sincerity about giving up the booze and the one-night stands and settling down. It is now a staple of soft rock stations, where it has the sturdy inevitability of Christmas or death. Movie director Gus Van Sant used it for a key scene in Good Will Hunting and the song was a hit once again in the Nineties when covered by Undercover. It even featured in an episode of The Simpsons, with Lisa playing it on her saxophone. Yet until Raphael Ravenscroft overlaid a glistening saxophone solo, it was destined to be just another folky tune. Ravenscroft’s name doesn’t appear on the writing credits – allowing the NME to start up an urban myth that bespectacled former Blockbusters presenter Bob Holness had performed the sax solo. Rafferty maintains that he wrote the hook, and claims he intended to sing the refrain at first. Ravenscroft disagrees, saying he was presented with a song that contained “several gaps”.

“In fact, most of what I played was an old blues riff,” says the sax musician. “If you’re asking me: ‘Did Gerry hand me a piece of music to play?’ then no, he didn’t.” Ravenscroft’s fee was a cheque for £27, which he says bounced anyway and is now framed and hangs on his solicitor’s wall. Rafferty has not attempted to make further payment, and Ravenscroft has chosen not to pursue the matter of a song that guarantees Rafferty a yearly income of £80,000. Since the song thrust Rafferty into a spotlight that has made him deeply uncomfortable ever since, maybe Ravenscroft is right to regard the riches of ‘Baker Street’ as tainted money: “If I had received pots of money, I wouldn't have known what to do,” he remarked recently. “It might have destroyed me.”

The following statement was found on the Sax on the Web message board;

“The Sax AL NEWMAN used is a Selmer Alto Mark VI circa 1958 SN84452. In the docs Al supplied to Howarths of London he writes: “The last recording session I played it on prior to leaving for America in late 1977 was at a recording studio in Rodmarton Street, near Baker Street W1 where was required to perform an Alto Sax solo and had to sign a release form. I later found out that this track was Baker Street by Jerry Rafferty and that credit for the Sax solo was first taken by the producer of the track and later falsely by Raf Ravenscroft who certainly did not play on that track - which in actual fact I did!!!”

The following statement is from Al Newman’s son;

1/7/2011

Hi John,

“I found your history of sax.

My name is Jonathan Newman and I am the son of Al Newman, who recorded the original sax riff on Baker St. I am so pleased you have set the record straight to what is a very long overdue omission in the history of this famous song. (Jonathan refers to the above note found on Sax on the Web)

The last session my father played on in 1977 prior to leaving for LA was Rafferty's Baker St, in a recording studio in Rodmartin St, where he played alto sax (a Selmer Alto Sax MK V! - No 84452 -auctioned through Howarth's). He was required to sign a release form, common in those days. He later found out that credit was first taken by the producer of the track, and then sometime later falsely taken by Ravenscroft.

My father, though very well known in both the jazz and the session world, has never sought the limelight. He is now in his 80s and has retired. It is sad to me that the truth has never come out, that Rav took credit for this, and that my father never got the recognition he deserved”.

Best wishes,
Jonathan Newman

My response to Jonathan;

1/8/2011

Jonathan, it is good to hear from you!

I will be glad to add your email to the list if that is okay with you? I have followed the comments on SOTW and will be glad to add your comment to the list so that everyone can read all sides of the history behind the song "Baker Street".

Is it okay to add your email statement to the book?

Thanks

John Laughter

1/8/11

“Yes of course”

Jonathan Newman
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,213
Location
leicester
“In fact, most of what I played was an old blues riff,” says the sax musician. “If you’re asking me: ‘Did Gerry hand me a piece of music to play?’ then no, he didn’t.” Ravenscroft’s fee was a cheque for £27, which he says bounced anyway and is now framed and hangs on his solicitor’s wall. Rafferty has not attempted to make further payment, and Ravenscroft has chosen not to pursue the matter of a song that guarantees Rafferty a yearly income of £80,000
the demo of Baker Street on youtube indicates that the famous sax lick was originally played on wah wah guitar and a listen to Half A Heart by Larry Coryell or Steve Marcus' version of that tune on soprano sax would suggest that it's not an original theme...

but this has nothing to do with Joe Farrell - who incidentally played on a number of James Brown tunes and in the horn section on Mothership Connection by Parliament
 

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
581
Location
London
Hope this helps a little;
#2 BAKER STREET—GERRY RAFFERTY
RAPHAEL RAVENSCROFT - ALTO


Raphael Ravenscroft has played for artists ranging from Marvin Gaye to Pink Floyd. “Baker Street” is his most well known saxophone solo. In 1979, Ravenscroft recorded a solo album, Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway. He has also performed with Chris Rea, Ian Gomm, Alvin Lee, Robert Plant, ABBA, Kim Carnes, Red Rider, Mike Oldfield, Roger Waters, Willie & The Poor Boys, and Phil Collins’ Brand X, in addition to two more LPs with Gerry Rafferty. In 1990, Ravenscroft also published a successful instruction book, The Complete Saxophone Player.

Legend tells us that the solo on Baker Street apparently happened by accident. The part was originally written for guitar and Raphael was booked to play just a short introduction on soprano saxophone. When the guitarist did not show, Raphael said he had an alto sax in the boot of his car and why not try it with him playing the solo. Ravenscroft played the part not really expecting it to become the standout track from the album which made him famous.


"Please send an email for the most recent list as I am currently in pre production of a series on sax players".

Thank you
Raf Ravenscroft=”

(List sent)

“Thanks mate.Thank you so much for your help will be in touch soon.”
Raf

11/12/2007

CD book sent.

“Dear John

Thank you so much for the CD: It really is the most brilliant piece of work. I should love to have a chat with you regarding my own project.

Thanks mate”

Raphael Ravenscroft

11/11/07

Rafferty’s perfect pop moment came in 1978 with ‘Baker Street’, a song of hoarse sincerity about giving up the booze and the one-night stands and settling down. It is now a staple of soft rock stations, where it has the sturdy inevitability of Christmas or death. Movie director Gus Van Sant used it for a key scene in Good Will Hunting and the song was a hit once again in the Nineties when covered by Undercover. It even featured in an episode of The Simpsons, with Lisa playing it on her saxophone. Yet until Raphael Ravenscroft overlaid a glistening saxophone solo, it was destined to be just another folky tune. Ravenscroft’s name doesn’t appear on the writing credits – allowing the NME to start up an urban myth that bespectacled former Blockbusters presenter Bob Holness had performed the sax solo. Rafferty maintains that he wrote the hook, and claims he intended to sing the refrain at first. Ravenscroft disagrees, saying he was presented with a song that contained “several gaps”.

“In fact, most of what I played was an old blues riff,” says the sax musician. “If you’re asking me: ‘Did Gerry hand me a piece of music to play?’ then no, he didn’t.” Ravenscroft’s fee was a cheque for £27, which he says bounced anyway and is now framed and hangs on his solicitor’s wall. Rafferty has not attempted to make further payment, and Ravenscroft has chosen not to pursue the matter of a song that guarantees Rafferty a yearly income of £80,000. Since the song thrust Rafferty into a spotlight that has made him deeply uncomfortable ever since, maybe Ravenscroft is right to regard the riches of ‘Baker Street’ as tainted money: “If I had received pots of money, I wouldn't have known what to do,” he remarked recently. “It might have destroyed me.”

The following statement was found on the Sax on the Web message board;

“The Sax AL NEWMAN used is a Selmer Alto Mark VI circa 1958 SN84452. In the docs Al supplied to Howarths of London he writes: “The last recording session I played it on prior to leaving for America in late 1977 was at a recording studio in Rodmarton Street, near Baker Street W1 where was required to perform an Alto Sax solo and had to sign a release form. I later found out that this track was Baker Street by Jerry Rafferty and that credit for the Sax solo was first taken by the producer of the track and later falsely by Raf Ravenscroft who certainly did not play on that track - which in actual fact I did!!!”

The following statement is from Al Newman’s son;

1/7/2011

Hi John,

“I found your history of sax.

My name is Jonathan Newman and I am the son of Al Newman, who recorded the original sax riff on Baker St. I am so pleased you have set the record straight to what is a very long overdue omission in the history of this famous song. (Jonathan refers to the above note found on Sax on the Web)

The last session my father played on in 1977 prior to leaving for LA was Rafferty's Baker St, in a recording studio in Rodmartin St, where he played alto sax (a Selmer Alto Sax MK V! - No 84452 -auctioned through Howarth's). He was required to sign a release form, common in those days. He later found out that credit was first taken by the producer of the track, and then sometime later falsely taken by Ravenscroft.

My father, though very well known in both the jazz and the session world, has never sought the limelight. He is now in his 80s and has retired. It is sad to me that the truth has never come out, that Rav took credit for this, and that my father never got the recognition he deserved”.

Best wishes,
Jonathan Newman

My response to Jonathan;

1/8/2011

Jonathan, it is good to hear from you!

I will be glad to add your email to the list if that is okay with you? I have followed the comments on SOTW and will be glad to add your comment to the list so that everyone can read all sides of the history behind the song "Baker Street".

Is it okay to add your email statement to the book?

Thanks

John Laughter

1/8/11

“Yes of course”

Jonathan Newman
Yes, this is what I was referring to above. Al Newman became an acquaintance of mine in the last few years of his life, and it wasn't until I'd known him a while that he brought this subject up. I make no comment about the veracity of either his, or Raf's statements because, quite simply I do not know. But, it did often happen that a few players would be called in over a period of days if the artist/producer wasn't 100% happy with a solo, and so many tunes had sax solos in those days.....
I never heard Al play (AFAIK) and certainly he had stopped playing professionally altogether by the time I met him, but a mutual friend from LA (Ron Singer of S&R Mouthpieces) told me Al had the best lead alto sound he had ever heard - now that's quite a statement!
 

John Laughter

Member
Messages
285
Location
Macon,GA
I agree David and I do not know either. We just report what our research has found over the years which is a part of the document. Thanks for historical note. In our research we probably found a dozen or so Top 40 hits where the soloist was confirmed yet other players suggested that they played the solo. And when we found such statements they were included in the document for the record. Some are very interesting.
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
Interesting information above from John Laughter and Dave Roach...

I noticed on Amazon's UK web-site there is a box set of Joe Farrell's albums available and it appears BGO Records are releasing a CD of albums next month...

Original Album Classics:Amazon.co.uk:Music

Remember Sonny Rollins did not get credited for playing on the Stone's "Tattoo You" album and Jay Graydon was about the 10th guitarist to play on Steely Dan's "Peg" solo although Jay did get credited - ah the life of a sideman / session / studio musician...

Greg S.
 
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