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Central Square Records

The late, great African American rhythm and blues musician, known as Sax Kari, played a wide variety of roles in the music business with a storied career that lasted from the 1920s through the 1990s. A multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, songwriter, record producer, A&R man and promoter who appeared under various guises including the pseudonyms Ira Green, Texas Red, Dirty Red Morgan, and Candy Yams. Born in Chicago in 1920 to Isaac Columbus Toombs and his wife Irene, Sax was sometimes known as Isaac Saxton Kari Toombs or simply Saxton Kari. Young Sax ran away from home at the age of nine and performed in vaudeville as a comic entertainer with the legendary R&B pioneers Butterbeans & Susie, who gave him the nickname "Candy Yams" for his relatively light freckled complexion. He learned to play piano, guitar and various reed instruments and by 1940 was living with his mother in Gary, Indiana. He worked in bands as a guitarist, and in 1942 took Charlie Christian's place in the orchestra at the Lyon's Den club in Oklahoma City. He soon began working with club owner and entrepreneur Denver D. Ferguson in Indianapolis in the early 1940s, promoting concerts and helping Ferguson set up the network later known as the "Chitlin' Circuit." He formed his own eighteen-piece touring band, settling in Detroit around 1945. He made his first recordings with his orchestra for Imperial Records in 1947, followed by recordings with vocalist Roosevelt "Whiskey" Sheffield for Apollo in 1949. In 1953, he released his most successful record, "Daughter (That's Your Red Wagon)," an answer song to Ruth Brown's "Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean," which reached #8 on the Billboard R&B chart. The record was credited to "Swinging Sax Kari" and featured singer Gloria Irving. During the 1950s he worked with legendary Houston promoter, producer and songwriter Don Robey, and produced early recordings in Detroit by Della Reese as well as recording novelty records under his own name on a variety of small independent labels. Sax also wrote and produced for other artists on labels including Checker and Vee Jay. In 1959, he produced the single "You're So Fine" by The Falcons, a group that included future R&B Hall-of-Famers Mack Rice, Eddie Floyd and Robert Ward. The song reached #2 on the R&B chart and #17 on the pop chart. In the early 1960s, he moved to New Orleans, where he set up a recording studio and worked with Allen Toussaint as an A&R man and producer for his Sansu record label. He managed the eccentric R&B vocalist Esquerita, and produced records by Chris Kenner, Polka Dot Slim, and others. He moved to Mobile, Alabama in the late 60's - setting up a record shop and his own label, Channel 1. In the 1970s, Kari worked as a songwriter for Henry Stone's TK label in Miami, Florida, writing for George McCrae, Wilson Pickett and others. It was in 1978 that he composed the soundtrack for the 1979 blaxploitation movie "The Six Thousand Dollar Nigger," also known as "Super Soul Brother" starring Wildman Steve, a protege of the legendary dirty rapper Blowfly - the alter ego of R&B songwriter Clarence Reid. The film also featured Jocelyn Norris and R&B superstar Benny Latimore. Copies of the ultra-rare Weird World vinyl have been exceedingly difficult to find, selling for up to $1000 on collector's sites. No written records exist of who might have played on the sessions along with Sax, but one can hear echoes of what might be TK stalwarts Little Beaver and Latimore. Any way you cut it; this is one deeply funky soundtrack.
The late, great African American rhythm and blues musician, known as Sax Kari, played a wide variety of roles in the music business with a storied career that lasted from the 1920s through the 1990s. A multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, songwriter, record producer, A&R man and promoter who appeared under various guises including the pseudonyms Ira Green, Texas Red, Dirty Red Morgan, and Candy Yams. Born in Chicago in 1920 to Isaac Columbus Toombs and his wife Irene, Sax was sometimes known as Isaac Saxton Kari Toombs or simply Saxton Kari. Young Sax ran away from home at the age of nine and performed in vaudeville as a comic entertainer with the legendary R&B pioneers Butterbeans & Susie, who gave him the nickname "Candy Yams" for his relatively light freckled complexion. He learned to play piano, guitar and various reed instruments and by 1940 was living with his mother in Gary, Indiana. He worked in bands as a guitarist, and in 1942 took Charlie Christian's place in the orchestra at the Lyon's Den club in Oklahoma City. He soon began working with club owner and entrepreneur Denver D. Ferguson in Indianapolis in the early 1940s, promoting concerts and helping Ferguson set up the network later known as the "Chitlin' Circuit." He formed his own eighteen-piece touring band, settling in Detroit around 1945. He made his first recordings with his orchestra for Imperial Records in 1947, followed by recordings with vocalist Roosevelt "Whiskey" Sheffield for Apollo in 1949. In 1953, he released his most successful record, "Daughter (That's Your Red Wagon)," an answer song to Ruth Brown's "Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean," which reached #8 on the Billboard R&B chart. The record was credited to "Swinging Sax Kari" and featured singer Gloria Irving. During the 1950s he worked with legendary Houston promoter, producer and songwriter Don Robey, and produced early recordings in Detroit by Della Reese as well as recording novelty records under his own name on a variety of small independent labels. Sax also wrote and produced for other artists on labels including Checker and Vee Jay. In 1959, he produced the single "You're So Fine" by The Falcons, a group that included future R&B Hall-of-Famers Mack Rice, Eddie Floyd and Robert Ward. The song reached #2 on the R&B chart and #17 on the pop chart. In the early 1960s, he moved to New Orleans, where he set up a recording studio and worked with Allen Toussaint as an A&R man and producer for his Sansu record label. He managed the eccentric R&B vocalist Esquerita, and produced records by Chris Kenner, Polka Dot Slim, and others. He moved to Mobile, Alabama in the late 60's - setting up a record shop and his own label, Channel 1. In the 1970s, Kari worked as a songwriter for Henry Stone's TK label in Miami, Florida, writing for George McCrae, Wilson Pickett and others. It was in 1978 that he composed the soundtrack for the 1979 blaxploitation movie "The Six Thousand Dollar Nigger," also known as "Super Soul Brother" starring Wildman Steve, a protege of the legendary dirty rapper Blowfly - the alter ego of R&B songwriter Clarence Reid. The film also featured Jocelyn Norris and R&B superstar Benny Latimore. Copies of the ultra-rare Weird World vinyl have been exceedingly difficult to find, selling for up to $1000 on collector's sites. No written records exist of who might have played on the sessions along with Sax, but one can hear echoes of what might be TK stalwarts Little Beaver and Latimore. Any way you cut it; this is one deeply funky soundtrack.
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The late, great African American rhythm and blues musician, known as Sax Kari, played a wide variety of roles in the music business with a storied career that lasted from the 1920s through the 1990s. A multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, songwriter, record producer, A&R man and promoter who appeared under various guises including the pseudonyms Ira Green, Texas Red, Dirty Red Morgan, and Candy Yams. Born in Chicago in 1920 to Isaac Columbus Toombs and his wife Irene, Sax was sometimes known as Isaac Saxton Kari Toombs or simply Saxton Kari. Young Sax ran away from home at the age of nine and performed in vaudeville as a comic entertainer with the legendary R&B pioneers Butterbeans & Susie, who gave him the nickname "Candy Yams" for his relatively light freckled complexion. He learned to play piano, guitar and various reed instruments and by 1940 was living with his mother in Gary, Indiana. He worked in bands as a guitarist, and in 1942 took Charlie Christian's place in the orchestra at the Lyon's Den club in Oklahoma City. He soon began working with club owner and entrepreneur Denver D. Ferguson in Indianapolis in the early 1940s, promoting concerts and helping Ferguson set up the network later known as the "Chitlin' Circuit." He formed his own eighteen-piece touring band, settling in Detroit around 1945. He made his first recordings with his orchestra for Imperial Records in 1947, followed by recordings with vocalist Roosevelt "Whiskey" Sheffield for Apollo in 1949. In 1953, he released his most successful record, "Daughter (That's Your Red Wagon)," an answer song to Ruth Brown's "Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean," which reached #8 on the Billboard R&B chart. The record was credited to "Swinging Sax Kari" and featured singer Gloria Irving. During the 1950s he worked with legendary Houston promoter, producer and songwriter Don Robey, and produced early recordings in Detroit by Della Reese as well as recording novelty records under his own name on a variety of small independent labels. Sax also wrote and produced for other artists on labels including Checker and Vee Jay. In 1959, he produced the single "You're So Fine" by The Falcons, a group that included future R&B Hall-of-Famers Mack Rice, Eddie Floyd and Robert Ward. The song reached #2 on the R&B chart and #17 on the pop chart. In the early 1960s, he moved to New Orleans, where he set up a recording studio and worked with Allen Toussaint as an A&R man and producer for his Sansu record label. He managed the eccentric R&B vocalist Esquerita, and produced records by Chris Kenner, Polka Dot Slim, and others. He moved to Mobile, Alabama in the late 60's - setting up a record shop and his own label, Channel 1. In the 1970s, Kari worked as a songwriter for Henry Stone's TK label in Miami, Florida, writing for George McCrae, Wilson Pickett and others. It was in 1978 that he composed the soundtrack for the 1979 blaxploitation movie "The Six Thousand Dollar Nigger," also known as "Super Soul Brother" starring Wildman Steve, a protege of the legendary dirty rapper Blowfly - the alter ego of R&B songwriter Clarence Reid. The film also featured Jocelyn Norris and R&B superstar Benny Latimore. Copies of the ultra-rare Weird World vinyl have been exceedingly difficult to find, selling for up to $1000 on collector's sites. No written records exist of who might have played on the sessions along with Sax, but one can hear echoes of what might be TK stalwarts Little Beaver and Latimore. Any way you cut it; this is one deeply funky soundtrack.
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