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Sunday, 29 May 2016

Saxie Dowell born 29 May 1904

 
Horace Kirby "Saxie" Dowell (May 24, 1904 – July 22, 1974) was an American jazz and pop music bandleader and singer and songwriter. 
 
The saxophonist with the nickname all other saxophonists are glad they didn't get stuck with was also extremely active as a songwriter and music publisher during his career. Surely there was an impetus to replace the stuffy sounding Horace K. Dowell he was given at birth in Raleigh, North Carolina near the outset of the 20th century.

He became Saxie Dowell by the time he began his first major professional affiliation, also his longest, with orchestra leader Hal Kemp. The nickname most likely developed due to the fact that Horace got his first saxophone at the age of 12 and carried it with him most everywhere. 

The job with Kemp actually began in the campus setting as well, Kemp himself a UNCG graduate. By 1924 the band was well into touring and recording nationally and internationally. Covering tenor and alto saxophone, clarinet and flute, Dowell was in the Kemp band for the next 15 years. Dowell composed "I Don't Care", which was recorded by Kemp for Brunswick in 1928. When the band's style changed in the early 1930s to that of a dance band, Dowell became the group's comedic vocalist.
 
 


Three Little Fishies" became a smash hit in 1939 and Dowell was embroiled in a legal dispute with the uncredited lyricists Josephine Carringer and Bernice Idins. Due to the success of the song Dowell left Kemp that same year and organized his own band which effortlessly survived the transition into Navy life in the early '40s. In 1940 he wrote the popular song "Playmates", which was set to a plagiarized melody. During World War II he served heroically in the navy aboard the ill-fated aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV13). 

Dowell's U.S. Naval Air Station Band became one of the most famous in history for staying on its set list even while the aircraft carrier the band was serving on was in the process of sinking. After the war managing not to associate band-leading with both war and sinking ships, Dowell reorganized his orchestra and got some good bookings, mostly around the Chicago area with the then 14-year-old Keely Smith as a singer He, appeared in a movie short during 1946 and made a few recordings for the Sonora label. He became a disc jockey for Chicago radio station WGN around 1949. 
 
Saxie Dowell's song credits include "I Don't Care", "Your Magic Kisses", "Three Little Fishies", "Playmates" ("Come Out and Play With Me"), "The Canasta Song", "Tonight I'm Thinking Of You", "All I've Got Is Me" and "Turnabout is Fair Play". 
 
Dowell kept his group going into the '50s, but eventually got into the publishing end of the business. His own writing credits include "Three Little Fishes." He was in his late sixties, and it was also the late '60s, when doctors sent him out to Arizona for his health. He did some part-time DJ work on KTAR in Phoenix during his retirement years. He died  22 July 1974, Scottsdale, Arizona, aged 70.     (Info edited from Wikipedia & AMG)

 

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