Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Bobby Fuller Four

(New entry at Greatest Rock and Roll since Moses page, includes two collections of Bobby Fuller Four songs - One and Two.)

They came out of the Permian Basin, the dusty oil and gas fields of West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico, and consisted of brothers Bobby and Jim Fuller, Dalton Powell and Jim Reese. Much of their music was produced in a homemade studio in the Fuller house or at small studios in New Mexico or El Paso, and two collections of recordings these great Rock and Roll innovators made during a brief span before Bobby Fuller's mysterious death are available for free download at

The Bobby Fuller were serious about making good recordings, and that they worked hard at it is evident in their songs, but unfortunately not in all of these recordings. Sometimes, since most of the songs are in both collections, it's just a matter of finding the better one, but for some songs you might have to go to iTunes or elsewhere. But in an original Fuller tune, the precise musicianship and the clean, crisp production impresses as much as the variety and innovation they brought to their music. They were not afraid to play around with different styles within the greater Rock and Roll genre and as you go through this collection you can hear the influences of everyone from Bo Diddley to Buddy Holly to Dick Dale, but it's all within their distinctive style and sound.

The Bobby Fuller Four must be included among the great Rock and Roll bands. If you like loud and raucous Rock and Roll but also enjoy finer musical touches like sophisticated vocal harmony or surprising rhythmic variation, and like being able to pick those things out in a nicely produced song, you might like many of these, and if the quality here isn't the best hopefully you can find it on iTunes, too.

The Bobby Fuller Four -

Bobby Fuller was born in Goose Creek, TX, just outside of Baytown and just across the bay from Houston. Brother Randy was born in Hobbs, NM. They grew up in various oil field towns and were living in Salt Lake City when their dad got a job in El Paso, where the band was formed. They were successful in the immediate area, playing clubs and other gigs, and recording first for El Paso's Yucca Records and later at their own studio under their own label, but had to move to Los Angeles (at which point drummer Powell, who was married and had a young child, was replaced by Dewayne Quirico) and sign with a record company before scoring their first national hit with I Fought The Law, a cover of the song written by Sonny Curtis of The Crickets, Buddy Holly's band, which has been covered many times since, which the Bobby Fuller Four took to #4 in 1965.

Bobby Fuller - Wikipedia
A few months later Fuller, at 23, would be found dead in his car outside his Beverly Hills apartment, with lesions on his face and a gasoline can found the car. The cause of death was not definitively ruled upon and has been the cause of a lot of speculation. Many, including, it is said, his parents, think he was murdered. Suspects range from the owners of their record company, who supposedly insured his life, to mob thugs working for Frank Sinatra to the CIA. Fuller's death is said to be similar to that of Sam Cooke's, and  is covered in a book by Alex Constantine that goes into the early deaths of many other Rock and Rollers -- a partial list would include Cooke, Fuller, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison and in one fell swoop Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper -- and claims a government conspiracy to snuff out the music that causes people to rise up and question authority.

Bobby Fuller and his band accomplished a lot musically during their short run. Aaron Poehler goes into it nicely here.

You can find upwards of 100 of their recordings in these two collections at Like all of the voluminous material at, these Bobby Fuller Four songs are in the public domain, i.e., the copyright has expired, and therefore can be downloaded for free.

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