Lee Allen

Back when rock & roll burst out of roadhouses and clubs on the wrong side of town and onto the airwaves, the saxophone was every bit as important as the guitar, piano, or drums in defining the sound -- a few players, like Rudy Pompili, did emerge as stars in their own right, with serious audiences and a lot of name recognition; others, like Jimmy Wright, the reedman and bandleader in residence for George Goldner's various labels, deserved stardom but never got it. Directly in between them was Lee Allen, who played on dozens of hits and many hundreds of sides, by artists including Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, and Little Richard, but never managed to make a lasting foothold on the charts himself. In the process of trying, though, he generated one of the finest and most-beloved instrumental albums to come out of the New Orleans R&B boom of the 1950s.

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