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Friday, 10 August 2018

Alvin "Red" Tyler And The Gyros - Rockin' & Rollin'

Side One:
01. Classy Lassie
02. Hey Hey Baby Come Home - Albert Scott
03. Double Whammy
04. Can't Let You Go I Love You So - Albert Scott
05. Tonking
06. Lonely For You
07. Happy Sax

Side Two:
01. Snake Eyes
02. Dippy
03. Doing The Rock And Roll - Calvin Spears
04. Peanut Vendor
05. Drag Race
06. Long Ride
07. Walk On

If you've been paying attention during our recent New Orleans series of posts AND if you've therefore been reading the "Fax On The Trax" sections in each post, you'll have noticed one name that turns up on many recordings, that of Alvin "Red" Tyler who featured as baritone saxophonist (and occasionally tenor saxman) on sides by (among others) Little Richard and Fats Domino.

So in late 1959 / early 1960 Johnny Vincent, head of Ace Records asked Alvin to record an instrumental LP which was released as Ace 1006 with the title "Rockin' And Rollin' With Red Tyler And The Gyros." This UK Ace issue is substantially the same album, with one track being omitted, "Junk Village." However three vocal recordings featuring Alvin as backing musician were added - two sides by Albert Scott and one by Calvin Spears.

In 1962 "Rockin' and Rollin'" was reissued on Ace 1021 as a twist album - "Twistin' With Mr. Sax." The cover was almost identical as were the tracks, all of which had been renamed by having the word "twist" added to their original titles. Gotta love that unashamed exploitation.

So let's dig a little deeper. Firstly, the vocal tracks. Albert Scott was a singer / guitarist who had two singles issued on Johnny Vincent labels. "I'm So Glad You're Mine" / "I Feel So Good" was issued on Ace 533 in August 1957. Neither of these sides had Red Tyler, but of more interest to us is Vin 1005 "Hey Hey Baby Come Home" / "Can't Let You Go I Love You So" which was issued in 1958 and which provides the Albert Scott sides on this collection. Personnel on the tracks - Albert Scott (vocal, guitar) with Lee Allen and Alvin "Red" Tyler (saxes); probably James Booker (piano); Roland Cook (bass); Charles Smith (drums).

Calvin Spears had one release on Vin - Vin 1020 "Doing The Rock and Roll" / "Come On Home" released in December 1959. Personnel: Calvin Spears (vocal) with Melvin Lastie (trumpet); Lee Allen (tenor sax); Alvin "Red" Tyler (baritone sax); James Booker (piano); Roy Montrell (guitar); Frank Fields (bass); June Gardner (drums).

The Alvin "Red" Tyler tracks. In February 1959 "Snake Eyes" / "Walk On" was issued on Ace 556, credited to Alvin "Red" Tyler. Possible personnel - Lee Allen (tenor sax); Alvin "Red" Tyler (tenor sax, baritone sax); Allen Toussaint (piano); "Mac" Rebennack (guitar); Frank Fields (bass); Charles "Hungry" Williams (drums). Probably recorded in late 1958.

In December 1959 "Happy Sax" / "Junk Village" was released on Ace 576, credited to Red Tyler And The Gyros. Recorded on August 10th, 1959 in New Orleans. Probable personnel - Melvin Lastie (trumpet); Alvin "Red" Tyler and Lee Allen (tenor and baritone saxes); James "Little" Booker (piano, organ); Roy Montrell (guitar); Frank Fields (bass); Albert "June" Gardner (drums). It is possible that Allen Toussaint is the pianist on both tracks and that James Booker played organ on "Junk Village."

Some time in late 1959 or early 1960 Alvin Tyler recorded the remaining tracks on this LP (and also on the original Ace 1006 issue). In an interview with Jeff Hanusch for the Westside CD "Simply 'Red'" he said that the musicians on these tracks (which were probably recorded in one, or two sessions at the most) were as follows - Alvin "Red" Tyler (tenor, baritone sax); Justin Adams (guitar); Allen Toussaint (piano); Frank Fields (bass); June Gardner (drums). Tracks recorded - Tonking, Classy Lassie, Lonely For You, Double Whammy, Dippy, Drag Race, Long Ride, Peanut Vendor, and the unreleased "Hey Mama."

The album was mostly a bit of a knock off and sometimes has that feel, but it does kind of grow on you. "Peanut Vendor" is especially good.

Original tracklist for Ace 1006 was -

Side 1:
1. Junk Village
2. Tonking
3. Classy Lassie
4. Lonely For You
5. Double Whammy
6. Snake Eyes

Side 2:
1. Happy Sax
2. Dippy
3. Drag Race
4. Long Ride
5. Peanut Vendor
6. Walk On

Included in the download is a folder of "Easter Eggs" which may be of some assistance to those who like to reconstitute original 1950s / 1960s LPs!

CD to look out for - Westside WESM 529 - "Simply Red." This has all the tracks from the original LP plus a few alternates. Issued shortly after Alvin passed away, so his interview with Jeff Hannusch is of special interest.

John Broven's sleevenotes on the LP (from an earlier interview with Alvin) are also very interesting.


Bob Mac said...

Thanks for this one BW. The rare music and your interesting details are always appreciated.

boogiewoody said...

Thanks Bob. I've edited the post slightly as on rereading it I found that one sentence in particular didn't quite hang together. It's not a bad LP, but it never was one which I felt was essential listening. Good background music!