Grady Gaines

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Grady GainesGrady Gaines (born May 14, 1934, Waskom, Texas) is an American electric blues, Texas blues and jazz blues tenor saxophonist, who recorded with Little Richard in the 1950s. He also backed other musicians such as Dee Clark, Little Willie John, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and Joe Tex. He has released three albums.


Gaines grew up in Houston with his brother, Roy, who went to play guitar on Bobby Bland's 1955 hit single, 'It's My Life Baby'.

Gaines himself worked as a session musician at Peacock Records. He played on Big Walter Price's 'Pack Fair and Square' and Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown's 'Dirty Work at the Crossroads,' before joining Little Richard's fledgling backing band, the Upsetters, as its leader in 1955. Gaines recorded infrequently, although he did play on Richard's 'Keep a Knockin'' and 'Ooh! My Soul.'

The Upsetters carried on after Richard 'retired' in 1957. They toured with Dee Clark, Little Willie John, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and Joe Tex. The band recorded for Vee-Jay Records in 1958 backing Clark. Gaines also led Sam Cooke's backing band up to Cooke's death. Several recording sessions followed for Gaines and his band at various labels including Vee-Jay, Gee and Fire.

Once the Upsetters disbanded, Grady toured with Millie Jackson and Curtis Mayfield, although he stopped playing in 1980. He re-emerged in 1985, reforming the now Texas Upsetters, playing at concerts in Houston before recording Full Gain (1988), Horn of Plenty (1992), and Jump Start (2002).

Gaines performed in both 1989 and 1996 at the Long Beach Blues Festival.

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