Most people don’t know that the song Spooky, made famous by the Classics IV, was actually originally recorded as an instrumental by saxophonist Mike Shapiro in the mid 60s. It was later rerecorded by the Classics IV in 1967 after guitarist James Cobb and producer Buddy Buie added the lyrics.
Apparently, Mike Shapiro had the same publishing company as Cobb and Buie, who heard the tune, liked it, and put lyrics to it.
The classic element of this story is that Shapiro ended up playing the great sax solo on the Classics IV version. I’ve always loved the tone and style of that solo, kind of jazzy and slightly edgy.
Here’s a version of the original recording of Spooky featuring Mike Shapiro on the tenor saxophone:
I had to great thrill and honor of auditioning with Tower Of Power about 20 years ago.
I remember quite clearly one of the songs we played was Soul Vaccination. I was reading the lead tenor chart and, man, all those syncopated notes just looked like dots flying by; it was really hard to read. I should have just played it from heart; after all, I’ve heard the tune about 10,000 times. I still love listening to it!
Everybody get in line!
That’s Norbert Stachel playing lead tenor. I think he’s the guy that got the gig on that audition. If so, I can see why they hired him – he’s smokin’! Check out his use of the flat 13 at about the 2:15 point. That’s not the way Lenny Picket played it but I love it!