Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Funky Wednesday!

Freddie Robinson's »Off The Cuff« (1973)

Fred Leroy Robinson was born in 1939 in Memphis and grew up in Arkansas. From 1956 onwards, he was living in Chicago. He played for some years as member of Little Walter's band, then he gigged with Howlin' Wolf. The latter, however, didn't get along too well with Freddie (or the other way round) because Freddie had taken up studying at the »Chicago School of Music«. Freddie was to say later: »I worked with Wolf very briefly, because he's the only guy ... that I couldn't get along with too well. ... He didn't realise that I really did love his music ... He thought that just because I was studying that I didn't want to play the blues.«

Enterprise LP # 1035
From 1963 to 1967 Freddie was playing behind Vee-Jay recording star Jerry Butler, and in 1968 he briefly worked in the band of Ray Charles. Then, in 1971, we find him as a member of John Mayall's Blues Band (see the BILLBOARD ad from June 10, 1972 where he is billed as »Freddy Robinson«). In 1972 he recorded his first album for Enterprise (a sub-label of Stax Records), »At The Drive-In« (# 1025) (see the ad in JET-magazine as of Sept. 21, 1972). In the following year his second Enterprise-album, entitled »Off The Cuff« (Enterprise LP # 1035), hit the market. Finally, Freddie converted to Islam in 1975 and took on the name Abu Talib three years later. I gathered most of this information from the liner notes of  ACE CD # CDCHD 728 (»Freddy Robinson: Bluesology«, 1999). This CD also includes some of the songs from his 1972 Enterprise-album. However, the two songs you can hear in the following have been ripped directly from his album »Off The Cuff«.

The first song, »You Never Ever Miss Away (!)«, is downright funky, the second, »Changing Dreams«, may best be described as an after-hours-blues in the best Chicago-Tradition. You can hear several female background voices on the first tune, among them the voice of Darlene Love (former member of The Blossoms and The Crystals, but recording under her own name as well during the 60s).

Freddie Robinson (feat. Darlene Love):
»You Never Ever Miss Away« / »Changing Dreams« from the Enterprise LP »Off The Cuff« (1973):

BILLBOARD, October 20, 1973, p. 64

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