When Boots Randolph starts "tootin' his horn", he does more than just play the saxophone. More than just pop out music notes. And that's why his saxophone sounds like it can sing...can talk...can almost speak to deaf ears! His ability is awesome.
His versatile style has no equal. And he's been bringing audiences to their feet ever since the early sixties, when his signature song-- "Yakety Sax" -- first hit the airwaves. It took off like gangbusters and turned the young musician into a celebrity, probably before some of his friends in the hills of Kentucky could have even spelled it!
A native of Paducah, Kentucky, Boots...whose real name is Homer Louis Randolph grew up in the rural community to Cadiz. His father also had the name of Homer, and obviously it created confusion 'round home! As a result, young Homer was tagged with the nickname "Boots"...by his brother, Bob...without dreaming it would one day be that of an International Star! The Randolph's were always a creative clan..rich in musical talent...and their family band initially provided Boots with the first of his opportunities on stage. He learned to play a variety of instruments, but settled on the sax, at age 16.
Years later, he was to make it his career choice...while working for Uncle Sam...during which time he was privileged to perform with the Army band. After his discharge in 1946, Boots Randolph began putting his "chops" to work professionally. However, it wasn't until 1961 that he moved to Music City--on the heels of his successful trademark tune--or, as he tells it, "that song (Yakety Sax) is what took me out of the hills of Kentucky and put me in the hills of Tennessee!"
The song served a multitude of purposes in kicking off his early career, not only by giving him the prestige of being a hit artist, but also by opening a lot of doors to other performers. Almost instantly, the Sax Man was seriously being sought after as a studio musician, and he was soon "picking saxophone on recording sessions for numerous stars. Boots Randolph was the first to ever play sax on recordings with Elvis, and the only one to ever play solo with him, in addition to recording on the soundtracks for 8 of his movies.
Boots also played on such diverse recordings as Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman", Al Hirt's "Java", REO Speedwagon's "Little Queenie", and Brenda Lee's "Rockin' 'Round The Christmas Tree". In fact, he has a 30-year history of playing on records with her, including "I Want To Be Wanted" and "I'm Sorry". An array of other artists who have added the Yakety Sax touch to their recordings include Chet Atkins, Buddy Holly, Floyd Cramer, Alabama, Johnny Cash, Richie Cole, Pete Fountain, Tommy Newsom and Doc Severinsen.
His unique style of sax..coupled with tremendous popularity on Music City sessions in the sixties..automatically made Randolph a major player in creating the now-famous "Nashville Sound". Without question, its was Randolph's particular blend of Dixieland jazz....along with some Swingin' honky-tonk...which helped Nashville music makers turn hillbilly records into a hybrid sound that literally transformed Nashville into the Country Music Capitol of the world!
And to this day, Randolph still has more calls for his "Saxy" sound at studio sessions than he can handle. While most people only associate Randolph with his self-written, multi-million seller of "Yakety Sax", he also had other big hits in the form of gold (a half-million in sales) on "The Shadow of Your Smile" in 1966. Plus, he "hit gold" numerous other times through recordings made with others, including "Honey In The Horn", "Java", and "Cotton" by Al Hirt, not to mention the countless consecutive Gold records by Elvis. In addition, Randolph had smash hit singles on "Hey, Mr. Sax Man" and "Temptation".
He also has over 40 albums to his credit on the Monument label. On top of that, Randolph spent 15 years touring with The Master's Festival of Music, which teamed him with fellow instrumentalists Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer. Another version of that group...called The Million Dollar Band....played for eight years on the Hee Haw Show. Members were Randolph, Atkins, Cramer, and Danny Davis, Roy Clark, Jethro Burns, Johnny Gimble, and Charlie McCoy.
He's also taken his "Yakety Sax" to numerous network TV shows including the Ed Sullivan Show, Kraft Music Hall, Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin Show, Mike Douglas Show, Joey Bishop Show, Steve Lawrence Show, and the Boston Pops. He appeared 10 times on the Jimmy Dean Show, and also headlined two network Specials with Pete Fountain and Doc Severinsen.
More recently, he's also made numerous TV appearances on TNN'S Music City Tonight and Prime Time Country. After performing all across the country in some of the most posh clubs ever built, Boots Randolph took the plunge in 1977...borrowed half-a-million bucks to restore an historic building in Nashville Printer's Alley...and opened his own dinner club--called Boot's Randolph's. He performed there on a regular basis, and enjoyed a successful run with the club for 17 years, before he called it "quits". When he closed the club, Randolph had vowed to "go fishing", but it was barely a year later -- in 1996 -- when he found himself back in business...pairing up with Danny Davis...as they embarked on a brand new venture in Nashville called The Stardust Theatre, featuring both artists in concert. Two years later, they each returned to their respective on-the-road schedules. Having headlined at almost every fair, jazz festival and convention in the country...as well as performing throughout Europe...definitely puts Boots Randolph in the category of being a saxophone player WITH EXPERIENCE!
Over the years, this legendary musician has written chapter after chapter of music history...forever etched in sound...and to this day, he continues to entertain audiences with the same enthusiasm he's had since day one. It's in his blood! Boots is his name. SAX is his game!
His horn is a Selmer Super 80 Series II. He uses a Bobby Dukoff D-9 mouthpiece, and a #3 Rico reed.