Return of the Thin Man

Noble "Thin Man" Watts

Return of the Thin Man

Honking, squalling tenor sax from one of the great R&B masters. "Wailing and shouting tenor sax, honking up a storm"--JAZZIZ

Available On CD
Price: $16.98
Add to Cart
1. Skunky 3:52
2. Slow Draggin' 3:48
3. Confusion 4:15
4. Burn Creepers, Burn 2:55
5. Bad Bitch 4:23
6. Look Under The Wing 3:57
7. Slop Bucket 4:30
8. Nobility 4:50
9. Blow Your Horn 3:34
10. Red Beans & Rice 3:08

NOBLE "THIN MAN" WATTS, Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax and Vocals
TAJ MAHAL, Guitar on "Blow Your Horn"

Produced by Bob Greenlee
Engineered by Bob Greenlee and Rob Corwin
Mixed by Pete Carr
Recorded at King Snake Studios, Sanford, FL
Cover design by Dick Bangham

Noble Watts--An Appreciation
by Taj Mahal

Hey, Hey, Folks, Listen to who is blowin' up a storm.  If you don't know Noble "Thin Man" Watts, well, after hearing this fine set of tunes and great syles, you will.

As a dancing teenager, I was treated to the Early Jazz, Bebop, and Rhythm & Blues records at house parties, rent parties, church dances, socials, even sock hops.  Honky Tonk, Slow Walk, Hard Times, Later Gator, Rambunkshus, Harlem Nocturne, Red Top and Hand Clappin' were the hits of the day.

I (we) love and loved instrumentals of the '40s, '50s and '60s.  With the present day preoccupation with '50s and '60s nostalgia, many musicians are jumping on the Band Wagon with little or no experience of the actual sounds of the times they are trying to RECREATE!

Jazz, Great Black American Classic Music is a tough, dangerous lifestyle, and only the gifted and blessed survive.  Noble "Thin Man" Watts is a survivor DEE-Lux!

Noble is  perfect link to these original sounds and ideas.  So when you pick up that tenor, alto or soprano make sure you have taken time to study and enjoy this album.  Listen to the "Thin Man."  He will set your soul and ears on fire.

It's his big sax sound and control over the horn.  His ability to make the melody or lines "talk to you."  That is the way I like it.  "Talk to me," move my spirit, move my body, move my mind.  Noble will do all these.  He can bend notes like a guitar player and was doing it back when Rock was a baby in diapers just beginning to crawl.

We, the dancers, musicians, poets, painters and plain old music lovers are happy to have Noble "Thin Man" Watts back on the turntables and air waves and in cocerts and clubs.

We need to hear this sound and share with him in this fine style created here in the USA!

It's great to see him in fine shape and with excellent musical chops.  Love it, Love it, Love it. 

Listen for yourself and you'll agree.  This is it!

Noble "Thin Man" Watts is a member of the pantheon of honking, blasting tenor sax men who bridged the gap beween swing jazz, jump blues and early rock 'n' roll in the 1940s and 1950s.  Great players like Big Jay McNeely, Joe Houston, Sil Austin, Preston Love, Plas Johnson and Red Prysock sprang out of the big bands of the Southwest (especially Lionel Hampton's Orchestra) to create tenor-led small combos perfect for the wild dancers of the post-World War II era.  When this rambunctious, flashy and (for the times) very loud new music was sold to black fans, it was called rhythm and blues.  When white people bought it, it was called rock and roll.

Noble Watts was born in DeLand, Florida in 1926.  Like so many young black musicians, he got his start in a high school band.  He switched from piano to violin to trumpet before falling in love with the tenor sax.  He began playing professionally while still a high school student and entered Florida A&M as a music major, playing in the college marching band with Cannonball and Nat Adderly.

After college, Noble was recruited by the Griffin Brothers, a hot touring R&B group, and from there he graduated to the immensely popular band of Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams.  With Williams, he toured as a member of the early rock 'n' roll reviews, backing Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and Jackie Wilson.

At a time when tenor sax instrumentals were at the heart of rock 'n' roll, Noble scored with a couple of major hits:  Hard Times, in 1956 and Jookin'  in 1957.  His fat tone and jazz-trained chops equalled those of the other tenor stars of the period, though he never recorded as many sides as some of his more famous contemporaries.

In the 1970s, after a stint in the Apollo Theatre house band, Noble returned to his native Florida.  In 1983, while playing a private party, he met Bob Greenlee, leader of popular Florida R&B party band, The Midnight Creepers, and founder of King Snake Records.  Noble joined the Creepers, and they backed him for his first full album.  It was originally released on King Snake in 1987 and is proudly reissued on Alligator.

--Bruce Iglauer,
  April, 1990