Monday, March 23, 2020

The Bobby Fuller Four - Never To Be Forgotten - The Mustang Years (1965-66 us, pioneer garage beat roots 'n' roll, three disc box set)

Bobby Fuller was born in 1942 in Baytown, Texas. He enjoyed playing guitar, writing songs and singing them and eventually formed The Bobby Fuller Four in El Paso with his brother Randy and two friends, Jim Reese and DeWayne Quirico. The group played in El Paso for three years before signing a record contract and moving to Los Angeles. 

The Bobby Fuller Four was influenced in its music quite a bit by another rock-and-roll star who had also come from West Texas, Buddy Holly. The lead guitar player in Holly's band, The Crickets, was Sonny Curtis, who wrote what proved to be the biggest song ever for The Bobby Fuller Four. That song was I Fought The Law. They recorded other songs, some written by Holly, but I Fought The Law was their only record to reach the top ten in the charts. In later years the influence of The Bobby Fuller Four was seen in music recorded by such groups as The Clash, the Blasters, and Los Lobos. 

Bobby Fuller was a talented musician, songwriter and performer and most likely would have gone on to bigger and better things had he lived longer. Just after "I Fought The Law" became a top ten hit, Bobby Fuller was found dead in his automobile, which was parked near his Los Angeles home. The police considered the death an apparent suicide/accident, however, many people believe Fuller was murdered. 

The investigation was botched from the start. The crime scene was not secured and no fingerprints were obtained. A witness also claimed seeing a police officer throw a can of gasoline found at the scene into the trash. Fuller was found with multiple wounds all over his body and covered in gasoline leading many to speculate that the perpetrators fled before they could set the car on fire. Police later changed the cause of death to "Accidental asphyxiation" citing no evidence of foul play. Despite the official cause of death stated by authorities, rumors and speculation still surround Fuller's mysterious death. Fuller is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

A three-CD box set that includes everything Fuller recorded for Mustang between 1964 and 1966: all the LP and 45 tracks, the previously import-only album recorded at PJ's on Sunset Strip, over a dozen cuts that were unreleased during Fuller's lifetime, and rarities. Although much of the music is excellent, it should be stressed that this is for the Bobby Fuller fanatic; most fans will be quite content with the all-killer no-filler distillation of his best mid-'60s cuts on Rhino's Best Of compilation. Fuller's albums were filled out with some unmemorable hot rod tunes and generic rockers that seemed to have been cranked out under pressure for product. 

The rare selections (some of which, despite being designated as unreleased, have shown up elsewhere) are largely alternates of songs that were already available, and although these are occasionally interesting, the variations are mostly on the slight side. A couple of cuts by the Randy Fuller Four (led by Bobby's brother and bassist) don't measure up to his sibling's output in the least, sounding jarring and clumsy by contrast. The Live at PJ's disc is disappointing: it consists mostly of covers of familiar rock standards, for one thing, and neither the sound quality nor performance match the excitement that Fuller routinely generated in the studio during this time. But make no mistake, this is a good thing for fans to have, and is superbly packaged, with a 64-page booklet of critical essays, speculation on his mysterious death, and an interview with Randy Fuller. 
by Richie Unterberger
Disc 1
1. Let Her Dance (Bobby Fuller) - 2:32
2. Julie (Chip Taylor) - 2:18
3. A New Shade Of Blue (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:59
4. Only When I Dream (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:02
5. You Kiss Me (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:36
6. Little Annie Lou (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller) - 2:01
7. I Fought The Law (Sonny Curtis) - 2:19
8. Another Sad And Lonely Night (Bobby Fuller) - 2:23
9. Saturday Night (Bobby Fuller) - 1:38
10.Take My Word (Bobby Fuller) - 2:13
11.Fool Of Love (Bobby Fuller) - 2:39
12.Never To Be Forgotten (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller) - 3:00
13.My True Love (Alternate Take) (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:19
14.You're In Love (Alternate Take) (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:07
15.Our Favorite Martian (Mono Version) (Bobby Fuller) - 2:51
16.Those Memories Of You (James D. Pewter) - 2:01
17.Think It Over (Unreleased) (Jerry Allison) - 1:45
18.Pamela (Mono Version) (Bobby Fuller) - 2:15
19.Wolfman (Mono Version) (Bobby Fuller) - 2:48
20.Thunder Reef (Bobby Fuller) - 1:51
21.It's Love Come What May (Mono Version) (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:02
22.Gallenkamp Shoe Commercial - 7:21
Disc 2
1. King Of The Wheels (Bobby Fuller) - 2:04
2. KRLA Top Eliminator (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller, Dewayne Quirico, Jim Reese) - 2:48
3. Keep A Knockin' (Richard Penniman) - 1:40
4. The Phantom Dragster (Bobby Fuller) - 1:24
5. The Lonely Dragster (Bobby Fuller) - 3:11
6. She's My Girl (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller) - 2:33
7. Love's Made A Fool Of You (Bob Montgomery, Buddy Holly) - 2:00
8. Don't Ever Let Me Know (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:40
9. Cheat And Lie (Unreleased) (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller) - 3:03
10.Jenny Lee (Unreleased) (Bobby Fuller) - 2:30
11.My True Love (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:05
12.Baby My Heart (Unreleased) (Sonny Curtis) - 2:17
13.The Magic Touch (Ted Daryll) - 2:53
14.I'm A Lucky Guy (Unreleased) (Lawrence Russell Brown, Neval Nader, Raymond Bloodworth) - 2:14
15.The Things You Do (Randy Fuller) - 2:31
16.Now She's Gone (John Daniel, Randy Fuller) - 2:31
17.Angel Eyes (Unreleased Backing Track) (Bobby Fuller) - 1:57
18.A New Shade Of Blue (Unreleased Alternate Take) (Bobby Fuller) - 2:58
19.Only When I Dream (Mono LP Version) (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:15
20.It's Love, Come What May (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:01
21.I Fought The Law (Single Version) (Sonny Curtis) - 2:18
22.Never To Be Forgotten (KRLA LP Stereo Alternate) (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller) - 7:17
Disc 3
1. I Fought the Law (Sonny Curtis) - 2:16
2. Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Chuck Berry) - 3:06
3. A New Shade of Blue (Bobby Fuller) - 2:57
4. Let Her Dance (Bobby Fuller) - 2:08
5. C.C. Rider (Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Lena Arant) - 2:09
6. Anytime at All (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:22
7. My Babe/Keep a Knockin'/Long Tall Sally (Willie Dixon, Richard Penniman, Enotris Johnson, Robert Blackwell) - 3:12
8. Vamp Introduction - 1:04
9. California Sun (Henry Glover) - 2:29
10.Do You Wanna Dance (Robert Thomas Freeman) - 1:31
11.Wooly Bully (Domingo Samudio) - 2:06
12.Gloria (Van Morrison) - 3:39
13.Oh, Boy! (Bill Tilghman, Norman Petty, Sonny West) - 2:19
14.Carol (Chuck Berry) - 2:56
15.Thunder Reef (Bobby Fuller) - 2:38
16.High Heel Sneakers (Robert Higginbotham) - 3:33
17.Slow Down (Larry Williams) - 2:57
18.Think It Over (Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, Norman Petty) - 1:44
19.Money/Shakedown (Berry Gordy, Janie Bradford, Bobby Fuller) - 4:11

*Bobby Fuller - Guitar, Vocals
*Randy Fuller - Bass, Vocals
*DeWayne Quirico - Drums, Vocals
*Jim Reese - Guitar, Vocals
*Dalton Powell - Drums, Vocals
*Larry Thompson - Drums, Vocals
*Jimmy Wagnon - Drums, Vocals
*Bill Webb - Guitar, Vocals

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