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A Curtis classic touches many genres

KIng Curtis had an impact on jazz, R&B, blues, and rock.
KIng Curtis had an impact on jazz, R&B, blues, and rock.
Original Cover: Capitol Records

Record album by King Curtis: Soul Serenade (1964)


Here’s why this album should be in your collection!

Soul Serenade (1964) was a landmark album in the versatile career of Curtis Ousley, better known as King Curtis. “Soul Serenade” the title track, is considered his signature song.

Curtis worked as a session musician with many of music’s greatest artists, including Nat Adderly, Shirley Scott, and Buddy Holly. His saxophone is heard on The Coasters classic, “Yakety Yak.” His session band The Kingpins opened for The Beatles at their 1965 concert in Shea Stadium. They were so great with Aretha Franklin during her Live at Fillmore West album session that Curtis was invited a year later to perform and record his own.

The album features the original instrumental version of “Soul Serenade.” Curtis co-wrote a vocal version with Luther Dixon and presented it to Gloria Lynne. So the song has hit vocal covers (Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls) as well as instrumental (Allman Brothers, Willie Mitchell, David Sanborn). Curtis recorded several live and studio versions himself.

Soul Serenade contains marvelous covers of classics by Bill Doggett (“Honky Tonk,”), Chuck Berry (“Memphis”), The Champs (“Tequila”), and Jimmy Forrest (“Night Train”).

This album is available in vinyl, CD, and MP3 format from major vendors. Please consider purchasing it from a local independent record store.

Here’s an interesting fact!

King Curtis collaborated with Joe South to produce the hit song, “Games People Play.” Duane Allman played during the session. South won a Grammy for the song; Curtis won a Grammy for his instrumental version.