Rufus Gore

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Rufus Gore suggests that, in his case, a possible link between hardcore rhythm & blues and horror splatter films might be in more than surname only. Gore specialized in vivid, Technicolor-screaming saxophone…
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Rufus Gore suggests that, in his case, a possible link between hardcore rhythm & blues and horror splatter films might be in more than surname only. Gore specialized in vivid, Technicolor-screaming saxophone solos during which a listener with a good imagination might think they are being splattered with droplets of the performer's saliva, if not his blood and soul. Or it could be sweat, since Gore liked to play in bands that laid down a hard, unrelenting groove.

His recording career took him from Chicago to New Orleans, working with some of the finest rhythm & blues performers of the '50s and '60s along the way. This includes the marvelous Wyonnie Harris, whose signature sound is almost always drenched in honking saxophones. As for New Orleans, the tenor saxophonist worked with some of the best players, such as pianist James Booker and the innovative Allen Touissant. He can be heard to great effect in this company on the collection entitled Simply Red, an anthology of the works of New Orleans tenor honker Alvin "Red" Tyler, with whom Gore was inspired to play matcher with the rip-roaring sax blowing. Gore also recorded with Little WIllie John, soul goddess Esther Phillips, and the unusual Moon Mullican, an eccentric hillbilly piano pounder who was one of the few artists from his crowd to cross the color line and record directly with black bands. The most treasured items in this saxophonist's output, however, are rare singles he cut under his own name. These are without exception excellent instrumentals, usually swaggering to life under provocative titles such as "Big Ends" and "Fire Water." It is no wonder that Gore's records under his own name often make lists of "must have" rhythm & blues instrumentals. Yet the same critics that wax enthusiastically about these recordings often preface their comments with broad requests for some details about Rufus Gore himself, about whom not much information is available other than the great sounds and feelings in his recorded solos. But that, as suggested by Jean Paul Sartre in his great novel Nausea, might be enough.