Monday, July 09, 2007


Homer Randolph III, of Paducah, Kentucky, grew up to be "Boots Randolph," Nashville's most respected sax player. His brother gave him the "Boots" nickname, so as not to confuse him with his father, Homer II. Boots backed Brenda Lee, Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison, and got his big break when a song he wrote tickled Jethro Burns (of Homer & Jethro).
The tune was "Yakety Sax," inspired by the manic Coasters' novelty hit "Yakety Yak." The Coasters often had a showy highlight sax solo and Boots figured to make a whole song out of one. Ironically, when first recorded via Homer & Jethro's RCA label, the song went nowhere. It was a re-recording for Orbison-friendly Monument Records in 1963 that kicked Boots up to solo fame.

He went on to open his own Nashville nightclub (1977-1994), tour 100 or 200 times a year, make many albums, and see Benny Hill adopt "Yakety Sax" for those crazed scenes involving heavy slapstick with bra-and-panty-clad girls (as you've already noticed on this page, you sly dog).
Boots appreciated Hill's use of the tune and aside from the Boots-Hill connection making a killing for him, he admitted, "'Yakety Sax' will be my trademark. I'll hang my hat on it. It's kept me alive. Every sax player in the world has tried to play it. Some are good, some are awful."

It probably gave many a sax player a headache...and Boots himself died of a cerebral hemorrhage on July 3rd. He was 80, and from the heady way he blew, it's remarkable he didn't succumb 20 or 30 years earlier. His wife of 59 years, Dee Randolph, survives him, as do two children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Randolph recorded many "straight" albums and singles but would sometimes try for a virtuoso comic tune that might rival "Yakety Sax," and that's what you'll find in the download below. You all know "Yakety Sax," but maybe not "Cacklin' Sax," a pretty corny but cute little novelty. Randolph probably didn't die with his boots on, but you can be sure that a fragment from "Yakety Sax" was on the radio in explaining the enduring legacy of this Nashville great
Don't be chicken: Try CACKLIN' SAX instant download or listen on line.

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