24 Songs, 58 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bobby Fuller rocked. Much like his hero, fellow Texan Buddy Holly, Fuller showed the world what could be done with simple, three-chord rock 'n' roll. He played it with a ferocity that brought out the best in the genre, and the various El Paso Rock collections show just how much great music Fuller produced. The nearly five-minute take of Long John Hunter's "El Paso Rock," recorded live, is a bit of an anomaly, considering Fuller rarely broke the three-minute mark. His talent was in bringing forth a powerful Fender Stratocaster electric guitar sound and matching it with strong melodies and harmonies, in line with what the British Invasion groups took from early rock 'n' roll. These "Early Recordings" are those of a fully developed artist. Tunes like "Guess We'll Fall in Love," "To Make Love Last," and "Pamela"—plus covers of big hits like "Summertime Blues," "Do You Wanna Dance," and "Louie Louie"—show off Fuller's obvious talents. There's even an early version of his future hit, Sonny Curtis' "I Fought the Law," where Fuller has all the pieces in place but not yet the magical production. Essential! 

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bobby Fuller rocked. Much like his hero, fellow Texan Buddy Holly, Fuller showed the world what could be done with simple, three-chord rock 'n' roll. He played it with a ferocity that brought out the best in the genre, and the various El Paso Rock collections show just how much great music Fuller produced. The nearly five-minute take of Long John Hunter's "El Paso Rock," recorded live, is a bit of an anomaly, considering Fuller rarely broke the three-minute mark. His talent was in bringing forth a powerful Fender Stratocaster electric guitar sound and matching it with strong melodies and harmonies, in line with what the British Invasion groups took from early rock 'n' roll. These "Early Recordings" are those of a fully developed artist. Tunes like "Guess We'll Fall in Love," "To Make Love Last," and "Pamela"—plus covers of big hits like "Summertime Blues," "Do You Wanna Dance," and "Louie Louie"—show off Fuller's obvious talents. There's even an early version of his future hit, Sonny Curtis' "I Fought the Law," where Fuller has all the pieces in place but not yet the magical production. Essential! 

TITLE TIME

About Bobby Fuller

With his blatant reverence for Buddy Holly, fellow Texan Bobby Fuller was a bit of an anomaly in the mid-'60s. Wielding a Stratocaster guitar and a brash, full sound, at his best Fuller sounded like Holly might have, had he survived into the '60s. Cracking the Top 30 in 1966 with a cover of Holly's "Love's Made a Fool of You" and the Top Ten with "I Fought the Law" (written by one-time Cricket Sonny Curtis), Fuller had just become a star when he died in mysterious circumstances in a parked car in Hollywood (the police thought it was a suicide, but just about everyone who knew him disagreed).

Fuller's relatively short period of national stardom actually crowned a good five years or so of recording, during which he released many outstanding tracks. After a few local singles in his hometown of El Paso in the early '60s, he moved to California with his combo in 1964 and briefly had aspirations of playing surf music before hooking up with producer Bob Keene. In the short time he recorded for Mustang in 1965 and 1966, he waxed quite a few tracks (most self-penned) in addition to his hits, including "Let Her Dance," "Another Sad and Lonely Night," "My True Love," "Never to Be Forgotten," "Fool of Love," and "The Magic Touch." Rocking, tuneful, and infectiously joyous, they showed Fuller to be a worthy inheritor of early rock & roll and rockabilly traditions without sounding self-consciously revivalist. While it's hard to imagine Fuller maintaining his success in the era of psychedelia, he no doubt would have gone on to produce interesting work. A talented and prolific songwriter and a studio whiz who drew from Eddie Cochran and (though only slightly) the full guitar sound of the British Invasion as well as Buddy Holly, he recorded a great deal of unreleased studio and live material that was issued in the '80s, when the depth of his loss began to be appreciated. ~ Richie Unterberger

HOMETOWN
Baytown, TX
GENRE
Rock
BORN
October 22, 1942

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