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Oliver Sain Funeral Draws Hundreds

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Pallbearers carry Oliver Sain's casket into the church Sunday. (KWMU photo)

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Funeral services were held Sunday for St. Louis saxophonist Oliver Sain. Mourners overfilled Cote Billiante Church of God near the Delmar Loop. They heard as much music as they did words of rememberance. Fontella Bass, who's is best known for singing "Rescue Me," was among those who performed. She worked with Sain.

Mark O'Shaughnessy owns BB's, a club where Sain often performed. He called Sain a part of American music history.

"He wrote the chapter on St. Louis rhythm and blues and soul music from the 50's until now," O'Shaughnessy said in remarks during the funeral. "Our great city can take pride in Oliver Sain's accomplishments. He has represented our city well."

Artists ranging from the Allman Brothers to Loretta Lynn recorded Sain's music. Sean "P. Diddy" Combs sampled the artist's work on his "No Way Out" album.

The a musician, songwriter and producer was known for his performances on songs like "Bus Stop" and "Feel Like Dancing."

Sain was 71 when he died last Tuesday of bone cancer.

While many spoke of Sain's musical accomplishments, his son Nathaniel spoke of a father whose love spread beyond his own family. Nathaniel has a brother who is not Oliver Sain's son and said growing up, "the only thing I wanted him to do was embrace my brother and he did."

"This guy was a beautiful human being," Nathaniel Sain said. "I took the very best from him."

Sain also spent two years in the Army and will be buried Monday at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetary.

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