I recently reviewed an album by King Curtis and I was thinking about other tenor sax players who had their own distinctive sound and so I was drawn to Ace Cannon. Cannon hailed from Grenada Mississippi and had come to attention as a member of Bill Black's Combo. He had recorded as a solo for the Hi label and in 1961 he cracked the U.S Top 20 with the single Tuff.
He recorded and interesting version of the folk song Cottonfields in 1963, it starts off almost like a gospel tune with the choir singing about those old Cottonfields back home before Ace rather incongruously barges in with some rapid fire tenor honking. I'm not sure who is backing Ace but I assume it's the Hi rhythm section which at that point was pretty much the musicians who played in Bill Black's combo. It's possible that Reggie Young was playing guitar, maybe Mike Leech on the bass, Carl McEvoy on the piano. From what I could gather the song was arranged by Jerry Arnold, another luminary from the Bill Black combo. Hi in the early 60's was mostly a label for instrumentals it wasn't until the late 60's when Willie Mitchell took control of the label that the famous Hi records sound came to prominence.
Cottonfields was written by the great Leadbelly who recorded it in 1940, it was later covered by Odetta in 1954. It became a prominent song in the folk revival of the early 60's, the Highwaymen released a version of it and it reached #13 in 1961. Established country artists like Buck Owens and Ferlin Husky also recorded the song in the early 60's. Owens gives it the real Bakersfield treatment with some nice fiddle and a real weary lonesome vocal.