BIOGRAPHY AND DISCOGRAPHY

 

An unlikely character who appeared on the rock scene with some fleeting success at the start of the 1950’s and who, thanks to his unusual name more than anything, has remained a minor cult figure through the years.

Born Lucious Tyson in Georgia in 1911, Tyson rechristened himself Doc Sausage when he got his start in New York in 1936 as an all-around entertainer who sang, played drums and told jokes while fronting a novelty group called The Five Pork Chops. They cut some records for Decca at the start of the 1940’s as the jive craze was near its end and they failed to draw any attention causing the group to be let go by the company.

Sausage did what all failed recording acts of the day seemed to do and continued to work the club scene which was still thriving throughout the decade and had room for such unusual and visual acts as his.

By late 1949 he got another chance to record and his initial release with his new group, The Mad Lads, for Regal Records had no connection with rock ‘n’ roll, the latest “craze” that was entering its third year and was rapidly becoming far bigger than any mere fad its detractors had long considered it. But when Sausage entered the studio in early January to cover a song that was zooming up the charts called “Rag Mop” he and sax player Earl Johnson tried to take the novelty record away from the rather transparent gimmick and inject more of an aggressive musical attitude which brought it – and them – into the rock’s sphere.

Other, even more overt, rock songs followed including the self-promoting “Sausage Rock”, but despite throwing himself into the movement he wasn’t able to match the success of the cover record he’d ridden to glory on.

After Regal folded its doors Tyson wasn’t able to interest any other label in recording him and he gradually faded into obscurity, dying in 1972. But in the subsequent era of re-issues one or two of his songs from those sessions inevitably reappear every so often, intriguing those who spot his unusual name and wonder what someone calling himself that might sound like. For awhile anyway, he sounded like a rock ‘n’ roller.
 
 
DOC SAUSAGE DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

RAG MOP
(Regal 3251; January, 1950)
A fairly credible rock rendition of the popular novelty tune, something Sausage surprisingly de-emphasizes, choosing instead to play it straight and leave the heavy lifting to the saxophone, but there’s only so much one sax can do to offset the song’s inherent weaknesses. (4)