Were I a rockin' US teen back in '59 and could afford Bobby Freeman's first LP on Jubilee, "Do You Wanna Dance?", I'd be a bit startled to hear it kick off with a hoary old standard! Even with a beat...and another half dozen standards, some with ethereal chorus. Good grief, was he going all-round-entertainer so soon? He'd had a monster hit in '58 with the title track (itself a demo, with dubbed guitar, bass and drums), with it's very acceptable flip, "Big Fat Woman", and to be fair, the balance of the album is teen friendly r&r. In my opinion, the better of the two albums here is 'Twist With Bobby Freeman', from 1962, rather obviously a cash-in job (the Twist phenomena knew no barriers), which nailed together a bunch of his previous Josie 45's, plus four from the previous album, not repeated here. Very acceptable teen/pop r&r.
Disc two goes back to 1956, when Freeman formed a doo wop group, the Romancers, and cut four sides for Dootone, which went nowhere, as did the one single they recorded for Baytone in 1958. Pretty good, all the usual pattern of slow/uptempo couplings. Then back to Josie, from '58 thru '61, mainly ballady stuff, with an interruption with a King release, 1960, nicely uptempo. You can imagine what the last track's all about.
Nice note from compiler Bob Fisher tells the tale, reminding us of Freeman's later career, and informs us that the old boy is still working his socks off in San Francisco.
on 16 February 2016
Robert Freeman was born on June 13, 1940 in San Francisco, California. He is a African-American rock and roll and soul singer and songwriter. At the age of 14, he formed vocal group the Romancers, and then R&B group the Vacaleers. Bobby Freeman is often cited as a one-hit wonder thanks to his 1958 smash hit, “Do You Wanna Dance” or “Do You Want To Dance” as it was titled on its initial release. Since then, Sir Cliff Richard made this song his own (UK 2/1962). Other artists include Del Shannon (43/1964), the Beach Boys (12/1965), the Mamas & Papas (76/1968), Bette Midler (17/1973) and the Ramones (86/1978). I have just done a Complete Singles Discography on Bobby Freeman. Far from being a one-hit wonder, he has an extensive recording career from 1956 (as the Romancers) to 1979, with 31 singles, on various labels: Dootop, Baytone, Josie, Parkway, King, Autumn, Loma, Double Shot, Epter and Kimray.
This 2 CD set, released by reputable reissue label Jasmine Records from UK, contains 38 songs. Two Complete Albums are included, plus singles on Disc 2.
LP Do You Wanna Dance (Jubilee 1086)(1959)(12 songs)
LP Twist With Bobby Freeman (Jubilee 5010)(1962)(8 songs)
Singles (18 songs)
1 Two complete albums are included. These albums are difficult to find on CDs. Many of the album tracks are making their CD debut.
2 All the singles by Bobby Freeman are included (both a and b-sides, charted and uncharted) from 1958 – 1962.
3 Three singles (a and b-sides) by the Romancers are included. Truly precious!
4 The sound is very well remastered, with clear vocals and no hiss.
5 There is a six page booklet, containing an essay by Bob Fisher. But the outstanding improvement is the inclusion of label, number and chart positions for both albums and singles. Finally, Jasmine Records is catching up with the correct way of giving us the song listing.
6 The price is reasonably cheap, especially from sellers. I got mine from Amazon.co.uk for £7.83. But with the low Canadian $ plus delay in shipping, I am rethinking my strategy for purchase of future UK releases. I probably get the best bargain if I wait for the price to drop from sellers on Amazon.ca in the future.
1 No songs beyond 1962 are included, probably due to copyright law relating to Public Domain.
2 Disc 1: 47 minutes; Disc 2 44 minutes. Come on Jasmine Records, you could have filled up the remaining empty space with more songs or singles as bonus tracks. From my discography, there are 28 songs (a and b-sides) from 1963 to 1979.
Bobby Freeman is a much neglected artist as far as CD releases are concerned. If you are looking for his later release, I would recommend C’mon And Swim on Ace Records label (2001) with 25 songs. I have just purchased that set to complete my Bobby Freeman collection. Don’t bother with the many Best Of CDs currently available. They are from Collectables, with only 10 songs. In contrast, this current set has two complete albums with album tracks never on CDs before, plus a truly thorough collection of all his singles from 1956 to 1962, with great sound. This set is recommended.