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Monday, 24 September 2018

Big Jay McNeely

I've just read the news that Big Jay McNeely passed away on September 16th 2018. This really is the end of an era. It was Big Jay's recording of "The Goof" (on a volume of "Old King Gold") which was my introduction to genuine blasting, honking, screeching sax-driven R&B. Over the years I acquired more Big Jay sounds - the Pathe Marconi release of his Imperial sides on "Deacon Rides Again," his Savoy recordings on the double LP set "Honkers and Screamers," two compilations of tracks from various labels on Saxophonograph, and a 1980s issue of "Big "J" In 3-D" which had 12 of his Federal sides.

Most of these LPs have been posted on Be Bop Wino over the years. Some links have expired, so here it all is again so that you can blast 'em out while raising a glass (while perhaps reflecting on the transcience of everything) to the memory of the King of the Honkers, Big Jay McNeely.

Wild Wig - a homemade compilation of his Savoy sides, taken from the "Honkers And Screamers" Double LP. Big Jay's first solo recordings from 1948.

Deacon Rides Again - Pathe Marconi reissue of sides recorded for Imperial in 1950 - 51.

Big "J" In 3-D - Reissue on Sing of sides recorded for Federal in 1952 - 54.

Road House Boogie - Saxophonograph compilation of sides recorded for Exclusive (1949), Aladdin (1950) and Federal (1952).

The Best Of Big Jay McNeely - career spanning Saxophonograph compilation, from his early recordings with Johnny Otis (1947) to his biggest hit "There Is Something On Your Mind" in 1958.

Matt The Cat's tribute to Big Jay on his "Juke In The Back" show is here - Juke In The Back # 438 

The show includes Matt's interviews with Big Jay as well as a selection of his best tracks.

Ted Carroll's tribute to Big Jay can be read on the Ace Records Website.

Ace Records issued recordings made by Big Jay in the UK in 1983 and therefore helped to revive his career after he had fallen into decades long obscurity.

Cecil J. McNeely, April 29th, 1927 - September 16th, 2018


Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's kind of the same song over and over, BUT WHAT A SONG!

rtie said...

Thank you for your long-term effort to remind such giants as Big J. Amazing job.

boogiewoody said...

Cheers guys. I found out about Big Jay's departure more or less accidentally. I thought the world of R&B and real rock 'n' roll would have marked the sad event in a more emphatic fashion, or maybe it all passed me by. I'm sure the next edition of Blues & Rhythm magazine will pay a fullsome tribute.


B_B said...

Perhaps the most telling tidbit in the Big Jay bio is the fact that, in the early '70s, he had to quit his passion, leaving the music industry, and take a job at the Post Office, to be able to support himself & his family.

Rest in peace, big man!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all of the great McNeely recordings, information, and link to podcasts! I hope your work will wake up American listeners to their own wonderful music. Big Jay is one of the great unsung innovators of the saxophone.
I wonder whether any documentatiohn exists of last year's tribute to him at the Grammy Museum?
Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all of the McNeely recordings, information,and podcasts! I hope that American listeners will realize what wonderful music we have. Big Jay is one of the great unsung innovators of the saxophone.
I wonder whether there is any documentation of the tribute from last year's Grammy Museum?
Best wishes.

Jasper said...

And of course this iconic picture will for ever be a great testimony of his achievements...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for B.J.McNeely !
- Jay from the North. said...

Saw him live in the 90 ties in a Club in Berlin and he was an amazing show! He was playing while walking around and lying on his back driving the audience in a frenzy. His last album at
Checkout my blog for tributes to Jaz, Blues & Rock greats! said...

Read his life story and interview at: