Oliver Sain

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Oliver Sain (born March 1, 1932, Dundee, Mississippi – died October 28, 2003, St. Louis, Missouri) was an American saxophonist, songwriter, bandleader, drummer and record producer.[1]

As a performer and as a producer, Oliver Sain exerted an influence on the evolution of St. Louis and R&B that is rivaled only by that of his close friend and infrequent collaborator Ike Turner. Sain was the grandson of Dan Sane, the guitarist in Frank Stokes’ legendary Memphis blues act the Beale Street Sheiks. (The spelling discrepancy was the result of a birth certificate error).[2]

In 1949, Sain moved to Greenville, Mississippi to join his stepfather, pianist Willie Love, as a drummer in a band fronted by Sonny Boy Williamson, soon leaving to join Howlin’ Wolf where he acted as a drummer on and off for the following decade. After returning from the United States Army draft he took up the saxophone.[3]

Sain is credited with launching the career of Little Milton, who became a vocalist in Sain’s band, and discovering Bobby McClure and Fontella Bass, whom he originally hired as pianist for Little Milton. He is also associated with the discovery of Kim Massie, who was largely unknown until she was heard sitting in with his band.[4]

Sain wrote "Don't Mess up a Good Thing" which was a number one hit in the US for Bobby McClure in 1965. The song was later covered by Greg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band, on his solo album "Laid Back". In the mid-1970s, he recorded his own disco records such as "Bus Stop", "Booty Bumpin' (The Double Bump)" (1975), "Party Hearty" (1976) and "Feel Like Dancing" (1977).

Sain died on October 28, 2003 from bone cancer, which followed on from previous bladder cancer.[5]

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