As a performer and as a producer, Oliver Sain exerted an influence on the evolution of St. Louis soul and R&B that is rivaled only by that of his close friend and infrequent collaborator Ike Turner. Born March 1, 1932, in Dundee, MS, Sain was the grandson of Dan Sane, the guitarist in Frank Stokes' legendary Memphis blues act the Beale Street Sheiks. (The spelling discrepancy was the result of a birth certificate error.) The product of a Delta sharecropping family, Sain was raised near the homes of blues icons Robert Johnson and Son House -- he first picked up the bugle and then the trumpet before settling on drums, and in 1949 he relocated to Greenville, MS, to join his stepfather, pianist Willie Love, in a combo fronted by Sonny Boy Williamson. Soon after, Sain signed on with Howlin' Wolf, drumming behind the blues great off and on throughout the decade to follow; in 1950, he relocated to Greenwood to join the Claude Jones Band, and a year later was backing Clarence Hines. In late 1951 Sain was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving his boot camp stint at Oklahoma's Fort Sill before he was sent to Korea. He returned to Greenville in 1952 to rejoin Love, now backing singer Little Milton Campbell -- at this point, influenced by his great admiration for Charlie Parker, Sain adopted the saxophone, which would remain his instrument of choice for the rest of his career.