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Red Prysock



Richmond, VA, USA
Here's my effort to balance the Blues, R&B Content. If you've not checked out any of his stuff, I highly recommended it for a foot tapping great time.

Particularly if you can get a listen to "Handclappin'"

From Wikipedia:

Wilburt Prysock (2 February 1926 - 19 July 1993[1]), known as Red Prysock, was an American rhythm and blues tenor saxophonist, one of the early Lester Young-influenced saxophonists to move in the direction of rhythm and blues, rather than bebop. He first gained attention playing with Tiny Bradshaw's band (he played the lead sax solo on Bradshaw's big hit "Soft," and staged a memorable sax battle with Benny Golson on "Battle of the Mass"). He left Bradshaw over a disagreement about dress code. Bradshaw's band at the time was called "Tiny Bradshaw and his Highlanders," and he insisted that all his musicians wear kilts onstage. Prysock refused.

He signed with Mercury Records as a bandleader, and had his first hit R&B instrumental, "Wiggles," in 1954. In 1955 he joined the band that played at Alan Freed's stage shows, and had his biggest hit for Mercury, the rhythm and blues instrumental "Hand Clappin'." He also played on several hit records by his brother, the singer Arthur Prysock, in the 1960s.

Prysock, who was born in 1926 in Greenboro, North Carolina, died in 1993 in Chicago at the age of 67.[1]




Formerly known as "nachoman"
brighton by the sea
One of my personal faves. Good call! possibly the suavest ever tenor players- very Errol Flynn!


Well-Known Member
Also one of my favaourites. I think King Curtis and Red Prysock are the best Rocksaxophonists ever. They could play everything. For me Red Prysock was Rock 'n' Roll before Rock 'n' Roll was invented!

"Well, I hear them speak about the roots of Rock and Roll ... that was the time it started. (Red's Mercury album " Rock and Roll2 was realeased in 1955). I was with Alan Freed, I had the big band with him at the Paramount Theatre. And I used to to go out with the Irving Feld tours. Bill Haley was one act I remember, and The Teenagers, the Platters, the Drifters, Sara Vaughan , Al Hibbler, and the boy that sang 'You never walk alone' (Roy Hamilton). When I left Alan Frreed Big Band at the Paramount, King Curtis took my place. But they Never call my name when when they talk about Rock 'n' Roll on TV ..." told Prysock Jonas Bernholm aka Mr R&B in an interview in 1983.

He used his tenor in a more percussive-like way. The "one-tone" solo and the "nessary repetion"became his signum. Blessed with a big tenor tone his solos pierced the audience. He was the best, and he was aware of it! He didn't care so much about what critics and writers thought about him. He did his thing. He got a big hit with Handclappin' (1955) but all his "buddysongs", 'Foot Stompin'' and 'Head Snappin'' (both 1957), are good. Other great songs are *Crying My Heart Out, Wiggle, The Hammer ... He was also a good singer, he can be heard on the Tiny Grimes song "Nightmare Blues" (Tiny Grimes and his Rocking Highlanders 1947) and "Body and Soul". Some people says that Red was a better singer than Art but he always let the singing to his brother. That's brotherhood!!

I've, just for curious, tried to resaerch about Prysock's equipment. On most pictures he is playing on a Selmer BA/Selmer MKVI with Link or Berg Larsen metal mpc's. Late in his carreer he was on King Super 20 w Berg Larsen. He seems to have "macho-setups". Big openings and hard reeds. He used metal trough most of his carrer. Prysock seemed to be the kind of player who played on differnt setups/horn through the years.

For me it's unbelivable how a player like Red Prysock more or less vanished from the musicscene (he had some songs released on the Chees label in the mid-late 60's).
But he was in good company. Other players who shared the same faith were Freddie "Taxi" Mitchell and Sam "The Man" Taylor. How could it happen? Instead of capable saxmen, we got mediocre pop-guitarrists.


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