Red Prysock Biography

Harlem Rock N' Blues, Volume 1
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Wilbert Prysock, 2 February 1926, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, d. 19 February 1993, Chicago, Illinois, USA. After attempting to learn piano, organ, clarinet and trumpet, Prysock received a tenor saxophone from his sister for his seventeenth birthday. He learned to play the instrument during his military service in World War II. Prysock turned professional upon his demobilization in 1947 and joined Tiny Grimes’ Rocking Highlanders, with whom he recorded for the fledgling Atlantic Records. He left them in 1950 to join Roy Milton’s Solid Senders before finding fame with Tiny Bradshaw’s band and such recordings as ‘Soft’, ‘Off And On’ and ‘Free For All’ (which became known as ‘Go, Red, Go’) on King Records. Prysock formed his own band in 1953, after experimenting with three releases on Bobby Robinson’s Red Robin label, and was signed by Mercury Records the following year, for whom he notched up many big sellers, among them ‘Hand Clappin’’, ‘Jump, Red, Jump’ and ‘Finger Tips’. He played with the Alan Freed Big Band, backing all the top rock ‘n’ roll artists of the 50s, and was able to switch styles with the advent of soul music in the 60s, recording for King Records and Chess Records and supporting many of the era’s big names. In 1971, Red teamed up with his famous elder brother, Arthur Prysock, and toured and performed together - the saxophone and the voice.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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