Emmit Slay

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Little Sonny, Joe Von Battle, John Lee Hooker and Emmit Slay | Jacques Demetre, 1959 | tc568

Sunday Blues notes:

Vocalist/guitarist Emmit Slay was a member of Todd Rhodes’ Orchestra, where he recorded two records with Rhodes in Detroit in 1950. After two years with his own trio, Slay launched a solo career in 1953 recording ten sides for Savoy. Two sides for an unknown label were never issued in 1957. Eight recordings were made for Checker in 1958, but only two were released. Slay’s final two recordings were made for JVB in 1959.

No biographical data is known for this artist.

Elliott Shavers

Saxophonist and singer Elliott Shavers, whose real name is believed to be Elliott Chavers, led an instrumental band who made a number of records in the early 1960s, some of which were distributed by Chess. Elliott Chavers was born in Waco, Texas on November 15, 1930. He relocated to Los Angeles where the recordings are thought to have been made, including surfing music instrumentals. Mr Chavers is thought to be deceased.

Can anyone provide any more information about this artist, please?

No photo located.

Bobby Saxton

Chicago based blues singer Bobby Saxton is mainly known for his Checker recording “Trying to make a living” which was originally issued on the Bea and Baby label then picked up by Chess for national distribution. Earl Hooker is understood to be playing lead guitar on this recording, which dates from around 1960.

No pictures of this artist have been located. Can anyone help with more information about Bobby Saxton, please.

Slim Saunders

Sylvester “Slim” Saunders Jr. was a New Orleans vocalist whose recording of “Lets Have some fun” was recorded in New Orleans and leased to Chess for national distribution in 1954. I have not been able to discover any biographical information for this artist: can anyone help, please?

Lou Sargent

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Luther Steinberg and his Orchestra | Sandra Steinberg | tc480

Luther McCallum Steinberg, also known as Lou Sargent, was a Memphis based trumpet player from a well known musical family. His father was Milton Gus Steinberg, who played in W.C. Handy’s band, while one of his brothers, the bassist Lewis Steinberg, was one of the original members of Booker T and the MGs (and is one of the writers of their landmark composition Green Onions).

Luther McCallum Steinberg was born on Oct. 24, 1929 and died in a road traffic accident on Dec. 24, 1999. During a long career he played with many top rated jazz and blues musicians. The Chess recordings issued under the name of Lou Sargent were recorded at The Memphis Recording Service by Sam Phillips in 1951.

David Ruffin

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David Ruffin | Pinterest | tc479

Singer Davis Eli “David” Ruffin, former lead singer of The Temptations, was born on January 18, 1941 and died on June 1, 1991 of “an adverse reaction to drugs”.

With a highly distinctive voice, Ruffin was ranked as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2008. Prior to signing with Motown and becoming a Temptation, when they were at the peak of their success, Ruffin had recorded with the Chess Detroit subsidiary CheckMate.

Personal issues began to take over his life. In 1982 he was sentenced to six months prison for failing to pay taxes during the mid-1970s. In 1986 he pleaded no contest to a charge of receiving and concealing a stolen gun worth less than $100 and was fined $50 plus $100 in court costs. In 1987 a cocaine arrest landed him in jail for repeated parole violations.

Most people are already aware that Jimmy Ruffin, a fellow Motown singer, was his brother, and after David Ruffin’s death, Jimmy Ruffin became a well known anti-drugs campaigner. Jimmy Ruffin died on November 17, 2014.