CORAL 65089; APRIL 1952



We’ve known for awhile now that eventually the guitar will take over for the saxophone as rock’s primary instrumental sidepiece, that transition is still a few years away from beginning in earnest.

We’ve already seen some early signs of its inevitable takeover however thanks to the groundbreaking work of Goree Carter, Pete Lewis, Tiny Grimes and Willie Kizart among others, but we’re still waiting for the defining rock guitar instrumental to rear its head and serve notice to the sax stars that their time on top may be short-lived.

Funny though… we didn’t expect one of the early attempts at delivering such a statement to come out on a record by a saxophonist!

We’ll leave this treasonous act to be dealt with by the musicians union while we focus on the record itself to see if this was merely an advance scouting mission by the guitar brigade or if it was the first volley in the skirmish that would lead to a long drawn out battle for supremacy in rock ‘n’ roll.


Over The Horizon
Normally we’d be prone to calling something like this prescient any time an artist foresaw the future and correctly predicted what lay ahead and sought to capitalize on those changes before his brethren in the industry did the same.

After all, it’s always better to get a jump on the competition and be first in line rather than have to play catch-up when somebody else comes out with a new sound or approach first.

Similarly we’d say that even if the sounds being used on 6 String Boogie were never going to represent a major shift in rock’s sonic template down the road, just the mere attempt to give audiences something a little different was a wise move, especially since the sax instrumentals that Eddie Chamblee specialized in were no longer quite as commercially potent.

Yet while both of those things remain true enough and so Chamblee should be commended, we can’t help but wonder if he was intentionally sabotaging his lead artist credentials in this field so he could return to the more sedate world of jazz sessions where he could play music in relative anonymity and remain safely out of the spotlight.

Since that’s where he eventually wound up and seemed perfectly happy to do so, it might not be so far fetched an idea.


Yes Sir, Son
With a name like Sir Walter Scott, you shouldn’t be surprised that the focal point of this record was serving as something of a musical chronicler of a new and largely untested storyline.

In case you didn’t know the original Sir Walter Scott was a Scottish author who penned the classics Ivanhoe and Rob Roy in the early 1800’s.

The Sir Walter Scott appearing on 6 String Boogie was not the same man, unless he was remarkably well-preserved, and while his name isn’t well-known, the list of musicians he played with since the early 1950’s makes up for it.

The Chi-Lites, The Jackson Five, Johnnie Taylor, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Tyrone Davis, B.B. King to name just a few. His band was also the go-to group to back any big name act who came through Chicago to play the clubs and Eddie Chamblee, a Windy City native, was the first to spot the talent of – get this now – NINE YEAR OLD KID!

Unless he was lying about his age in his senior years, shaving a few years off so he wasn’t tossed unceremoniously in a retirement home to watch four and a half hour White Sox games with eight pitching changes, he was born in 1943, the youngest of ten musical kids, learning guitar by watching his mother play. Though he was barely out of diapers when he began his career, it’s here where he really starts to stake his claim as one of the many overlooked giants of his instrument.

Though Chamblee is present on this it’s strictly a showcase for Scott who starts off with a simple slow boogie run and then ramps it up for a stretch, dropping back to the boogie and going back and forth like that for the duration.

It’s not fancy by any means, nor complex, but every riff, including a different one in the mid-section, is expertly rendered, catchy as can be, perfect for whatever activity you have in your head, from dancing to just loitering on the sidelines and eying the girls.

A little too quick to be a mood piece, it nevertheless has a slightly edgy quality to it, largely due to the tone he uses which has just enough bite to it that it’ll rivet your attention.

The band is doing little more than offering discreet support, Chamblee doesn’t even get a brief solo of his own, though one might’ve helped to shake things up a little and make Scott’s reappearance all the more powerful, but the song really doesn’t need it because the variations he offers on the guitar are enough to keep you from losing interest.

Granted something like this in 1952 may have little chance for commercial success, but it sounds pretty damn good all the same.


For Old And Young Alike
Like any other field of endeavor, music takes all kinds of people.

Those who are honest, kind and considerate work alongside those who are lying, thieving and greedy… the latter of whom all seemed to own record labels unfortunately.

Eddie Chamblee was by all accounts one of the good guys and even if there were no testimonials out there as to his personal behavior, one look at his catalog shows that he was more than happy to spread opportunity around to other musicians rather than demanding that every record feature his sax out front.

6 String Boogie may be one of the most atypical records that a sax star could release, but it’s also one of the better ones because he made sure that it was being used to give a kid the best platform he could have for making a name for himself, even going so far as to give credit on the label itself.

Naturally there may have been a few promoters, booking agents or record companies inquiring about Sir Walter Scott who were surprised to find he needed adult supervision and couldn’t stay out past eight o’clock at night, but none of that is insurmountable when you can play as well as he did.

He’d go right on playing until the end too, a Chicago legend who passed away in 2020, almost seven whole decades after helping to bring the guitar a little closer to center stage in rock ‘n’ roll.


(Visit the Artist page of Eddie Chamblee for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)