Saturday, 5 October 2013

SINGLE: The Bobby Fuller Four - Let Her Dance (1965)

US - Mustang 3006 (June 1965)/Liberty 55812 (July 1965)
UK - Not originally released

Bobby Fuller (vocals/guitar), Randy Fuller (bass), 
Jim Reese (guitar), DeWayne Quirico (drums).

One of the great could-have-been stories of rock n' roll is that of Bobby Fuller. With his band, The Bobby Fuller Four, he crafted an amazing run of singles in the mid 60's. His career, and indeed his life were tragically cut short in the most suspicious and horrible of circumstances, at the age of just 23 (read more in Aaron Poehler's article The Strange Case Of Bobby Fuller, here).

The circumstances of his passing have sometimes overshadowed his musical achievements. Not only was he a gifted songwriter and guitarist, he had an amazing technical ability too. He actually built his own studio at one point, and fashioned a makeshift echo chamber in his back garden. Whilst label boss Bob Keane is the credited producer on his Mustang recordings, Bobby had his own ideas about his sound, and it would appear that the finished records are a compromise somewhere between the two. It is intriguing to wonder where he would have headed with his career, perhaps moving into production. As it stands, those precious singles from 1964-66 are some of the best sounding records of their time, and considering what a golden period it was for popular music that's no mean feat.

Although obviously in awe of Buddy Holly, Fuller added his own flavour to the mix to make something all his own. His best known records are probably I Fought The Law and Love's Made A Fool Of You, but I've opted to share this earlier gem. Although it was a local hit for the Mustang label in Los Angeles, it inexplicably failed to dent the national Hot 100, despite being quickly picked up by Liberty for national distribution. There was some confusion over this, as Keane was unaware his business partners had made the deal. This mix up might also explain why the record didn't secure a UK release.

Passionate about making the best records possible, Fuller was not happy with the finished recording of Let Her Dance. I wonder if he would have revised his opinion with the passing of time. Writer Richie Unterberger described Fuller's music as "rocking, tuneful, and infectiously joyous", and Let Her Dance is the perfect example.

With a big thank you to YouTube user ADAMKKKKK for sharing this fantastic footage from Shivaree.

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