1932 – 2003
Who was Oliver Sain?
As a performer and as a producer, Oliver Sain exerted an influence on the evolution of St. Louis and R&B that is rivaled only by that of his close friend and infrequent collaborator Ike Turner. In Dundee, MS. Sain was the grandson of Dane Sain, the guitarist in Frank Stokes’ legendary Memphis blues act the Beale Street Sheiks..
In 1949, Sain moved to Greenville, Mississippi to join his stepfather, pianist Willie Love, as a drummer in a band fronted by Sonny Boy Williamson, soon leaving to join Howlin’ Wolf where he acted as a drummer on and off for the following decade. After returning from the United States Army draft he took up the saxophone.
Sain is credited with launching the career of Little Milton, who became a vocalist in Sain’s band, and discovering Bobby McClure and Fontella Bass, whom he originally hired as pianist for Little Milton. He is also associated with the discovery of Kim Massie, who was largely unknown until she was heard sitting in with his band.