Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Bobby Freeman RIP

It's another month and with it another rock and roll death - this time of Bobby Freeman, who will forever be associated with his 1958 biggie Do You Want To Dance. The record had a great B side - the rather non PC Big Fat Woman - and was covered by numerous other acts, including Del Shannon, the Beach Boys, Cliff Richard and Johnny Rivers. None of them could match the excitement of the
original and follow ups on Josie, mostly including the names of various women, including Betty Lou Got A New Pair Of Shoes, Shame On You Miss Johnson and Mary Ann Thomas, were equally good. Originally from San Francisco, Bobby moved to the King label, which resulted in a further UK release, (I Do The) Shimmy Shimmy, and then to the Autumn label, where he had further success wih the 1964 hit C'mon And Swim, written by Sly Stone, followed by S-W-I-M and The Duck. Sadly Bobby never visited the UK and didn't perform a great deal in later years so I never got to see him live, But as a rhythm and blues singer, with a very soulful voice, he was one of the best.
Another death this week is that of composer and arranger John Schoeder, who master minded the amazing success of Helen Shapiro in 1961 with Don't Treat Me Like A Child, You Don't Know and Walking Back To Happiness, Moving to Oriole he arranged a licensing deal with Motown which led to 19 singles and seven LPs being released on the label by the likes of the Contours, Little Stevie Wonder, the Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells. He even took a
chance on obscurities such as Mike and the Modifiers and the Valadiers, records by which sell for big sums today. Moving on to Pye John formed Sounds Orchestral, which had major success with Cast Your Fate To The Wind, and with his own orchestra released covers of soul and pop hits of the era on the Piccadilly subsidiary. He also launched the career of Status Quo before launching his own Alaska label in the early seventies.


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