Soul Fantasy

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Southside" Jerry Mellix


"Southside" Jerry Mellix was born in Pittsburgh, PA. He is a sax player mainly a tenor man but if needed he can be to pick up an alto, baritone and flute.
He started out playing in The Hill City Marching Band back in 1959 and he has been performing professionally since 1962 at the age of fifteen. He migrated to the high school band and later found jobs, mainly the weekend nights, with a band called 'Little' Willie Beck & The Crossfires.
He went to Soho and Forbes Grade Schools and Fifth Ave. High School. He also went to Pittsburgh University, but left before graduation to go on the road with the show band called "The Memories".
For over 40 years now, he has  performed blues, jazz and  R&B. Since the mid 1960's by 1979, he has played saxophone for various artists performing in Pittsburgh such as Lee Dorsey, The Temptations, The O'Jays, The Coasters and many more. Jerry's incomparable sax and vocal style has been heard from Trump's Plaza in Atlantic City, N.J. through the French quarters blues bars in New Orleans to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has influences of his brother and fellow sax player Ron Mellix as well as other players  such as Art Nance, J.C.Gordon and Stunley Turrentine.
Jerry with The Memories released some singles on their Memco Records entitled "Can I / Lovey Dovey" and "Sha-Boom / Once And Awhile" in 1976 and 1978 respectively. Also they recorded and released a mini album on cassete in 1981 on the same label.



From the mini album, I chose a great Christmas song entitled "Santa Claus is coming to town". Vocals by Jul Hopson. Jerry Mellix on sax and flute.
I'm sorry for the quality of the sample, the sound of mp3 was taken from cassette.




The Memories did an album worth of recordings in the mid 70’s , but never released. In the 80s, they performed only in Western, Pennsylvania and in the tri-states (West Virginia and Ohio).
Jerry Mellix spent a few years performing with them (20 years with that band) and decided to strike out on his own. Then, he goes as a member of a South Side blues house band. The leader had trouble pronouncing Mellix during the group intros, and so "Southside Jerry" was born.
In 1997 he released first solo album under his new stage name. It was released on cassete by RAM entitled "Blue'n'at". This album won Pittsburgh's EXCEL Award for best independently produced Jazz/Blues record. Southside Jerry reissued it on CD in 2000 on his own impress, the Jermel label.


This album has all the styles. Blues, Jazz and R&B. Some of the tracks were recorded at Albey Road Studio in Pittsburgh,PA. and Hart Sound Production, Belle Chase, LA.
I have chosen three tracks entitled "What a difference a day makes", "Dream bossa nova" and "Funny (not much)". On the popular "What a difference a day makes" vocals by Bobbi Marbella. Solo guitar by John "Doc" Flaherty. On "Funny (not much)" vocals by Southside Jerry and Bobbi Marbella. Solo piano by Bob Pinkerton. On "Dream bossa nova" solo trumpet by Les "Rusty" Colonelo. Solo guitar by Hugh Garfold. Enjoy them.







Now on his own, Mellix expanded beyond his Motown roots, and added Blues and Jazz to his R&B and doo-wop repertoire. He also expanded his stage, performing in places like Buffalo, NY., Rochester, NY., Charlotte, NC, New Orleans, LA., and Atlanta, GA.

His favorite gig was at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. There, Mellix got to perform with The Clovers, which included his old band mate from The Memories, Richie Merritt, who sang for a host of local groups, including the Electrons and is currently with the Marcels.

He joined forces with Morgantown's oldies/shag act, the Subway Band, which toured the east, and in 2005 cut the album "Black, White, & Blues" on their own label. His playing is also heard on albums with Pittsburgh's Stickers, Memphis Mike, and Kari Throm.

Heck, in 2006 he even played a gig with Gary Racan and the Studio E Band for the opening night gala after Matthew McConaughey's and Matthew Fox's "We Are Marshall" movie premier in Huntington, West Virginia.

The Subway job landed him an opportunity to play with Chicago's "Daughter of the Blues," B.B. King's girl Shirley, as a member of the R&B Station. His last performance with her was in Toronto, where Mellix parted ways to work in Nevada's Reno and Carson City casinos with a R&B show band called Musicole w/Michael Coleman.

But when the economy went south, so did the casino budgets. Mellix returned to his old stomping grounds in 2007 to earn his daily bread, and has been doing nicely ever since.

Here, he's back on the oldies circuit, backing The New Holidays, The Four Townsmen, and the Soul Merchants; he also performed with the El Monics before they broke up. He also performed with his own band, the Blues 'N' At Band.


Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full


I wanna thank Southside Jerry Mellix. It is worthy to mention that you are a great person.
## Biography was provided by Jerry himself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

how can I get two copies of the lp Sitting Duck?