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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Bobby Freeman born 13 June 1940

 Bobby Freeman (born San Francisco, June 13, 1940) is an African-American soul singer, songwriter, and record producer who recorded for the Autumn Records label in San Francisco, California.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Freeman started singing in a doowop group called the Romancers when he was fourteen. ( From left to right: Alvin Thomas, Woodrow Blake and Jimmy Shelbourne. Top: Bobby Freeman.)

In 1956 the quintet managed to get onto Dootone Records and had two singles released on the label, including the rocker "House Cat", which has been reissued on several CD compilations. A third single appeared on the small Baytone label, after which the group fell apart. Bobby then decided to go solo and formed his own group, the Vocaleers, a.k.a. the West Coast Vocaleers to avoid confusion with another group who had scored a # 4 R&B hit in 1953 with "Is It A Dream".
However, Bobby was on his own when he visited a deejay who encouraged him to cut some demos. Accompanying himself on piano while a drum playing friend beat out the rhythm on congas, Bobby taped four songs.

The deejay played the tapes for the vice-president of Jubilee Records of New York who happened to be honeymooning in San Francisco. Mortimer Palitz liked what he heard and within three weeks Bobby Freeman was signed to Jubilee.

Two of the original demos were overdubbed in New York by professional session musicians, including Billy Mure on guitar, and "Do You Want To Dance"/"Big Fat Woman" was released on Jubilee's Josie subsidiary in March 1958. The disc was an immediate success, peaking at # 5 on the pop charts and # 2 on the R&B charts. "Do You Want To Dance" had a distinctive Latin chord sequence, which has been imitated quite frequently since.

Freeman appeared on American Bandstand and went on package tours with the likes of Fats Domino, the Coasters, Clyde McPhatter, James Brown and Jackie Wilson. He showed that he was no flash-in-the-pan by placing five out of his first seven Josie 45s on the Hot 100 between May 1958 and December 1959, though those hits became increasingly small with each release.
Bobby Freeman proved to be a good R&B singer. Often working with his long-time manager, Walt Kohn, Freeman put on great live shows and was quite a dancer. He returned to the top forty in 1960 with (I Do The) Shimmy Shimmy on the King Records label.
Local disc-jockey-turned-record-promoter/performer Sylvester Stewart signed Freeman to the Autumn label. Freeman's second release on Autumn was a 1964 top ten dance craze hit. "C'mon and Swim" which was written and produced by twenty-year-old Sylvester Stewart, later known as Sly Stone. The craze had cooled by the time he released his follow-up "S-W-I-M", but he continued to tour widely over the next few years.
Bobby Freeman played at the Condor nightclub in San Francisco nightly in 1964 when Carol Doda began go-go dancing there topless. He transformed into a soul singer, continued to record for a host of small labels well into the 1970s, but registered no further hits. However, this did not inhibit Bobby's performing career and he remained a big attraction on the West Coast, where he still maintains a steady club career.
(info edited from mainly Black Cat Rockabilly & Wikipedia)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Bobby Freeman – Do You Wanna Dance go here:

01 - Do You Wanna Dance [1958 Josie 835] (2:37)
02 - Little Girl Don't You Understand [1962 Josie 896] (2:28)
03 - Mary Ann Thomas [1959 Josie 863] (1:57)
04 - Mardi Gras Rock [1959 Jubilee JLP 1086] (2:11)
05 - Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy (I Do The) [rec.1960&'61] (2:41)
06 - Betty Lou Got a New Pair of Shoes [1958 Josie 841] (2:29)
07 - Big Fat Woman [1958 Josie 835] (1:45)
08 - Love Me [1959 Josie 863] (2:10)
09 - Good Loving Is What I Need [1958 unissued] (2:22)
10 - My Guardian Angel [1959 Josie 867] (2:08)
11 - The Swim [1965 6unissued] (2:13)
12 - Shame On You Miss Johnson [1958 Josie 844] (1:55)
13 - She Said She Wants To Dance [1961 Josie 889] (2:43)
14 - When Your Smiling [1959 Josie 855] (2:21)
15 - C'mon And Swim [1964 Autumn 2] (2:49)
16 - I'll Never Fall In Love Again [1965 Autumn 9] (2:37)

A big Thank you to “The Rockin’ Bandit” for original link.