Mr. Bobby Freeman
Listen/Download -Bobby Freeman – Do You Wanna Dance, 1970
How’s by you?
By me it’s raining for the third day in a row, and I’m sitting here writing an entry for a funk and soul blog while listening to Von Suppe’s ‘Light Cavalry’. Lest you think I’m making a move into the classical realm, this exalted fare is in response to my five-year-old who was galloping around the house singing the ‘William Tell Overture’, asking if it was a real song. Fortunately I just happened to have a disc of Von Suppe and Rossini overtures on hand.
Next time you’re out digging, and discover such a record, grab it and take it home.
“Why?” you ask, shaking your head in disgust.
Because my friends, the overtures of Rossini and Von Suppe are perhaps the greatest classical source for cartoon music, having been plundered by Carl Stalling and others and planted into decades worth of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig cartoons like a time-release culture bomb.
How many among you were wandering aimlessly in a record store or coffee house when a familiar sound grabbed your ears, only to make you think of carrots and cartoon violence? You can thank those two great 19th century composers (and Raymond Scott, among others) for making your Saturday mornings a little more meaningful.
But enough eggheadery….
The tune I bring you today is another Asbury Park 45 Sessions discovery that leapt into my skull fresh out of the crates of Mr. Pat. James Longo. Truth be told, I had been forewarned that he might attempt to blow my mind with something funky by an artist not generally associated with drum breaks and what not, but I could not have been prepared for what was about to happen.
Mr. Longo took to the tables, whipped that familiar yellow and black Double Shot label out and dropped the needle on a sweet, sweet break, followed by a truly funky update of a song from the 1950s.
The artist in question was Bobby Freeman, and the song was ‘Do You Wanna Dance, 1970’.
Now, as any record collector worth his/her salt will tell you, the world of funk and soul is riddled with such updates, in which an artist tries to play on his previous success by reworking old material and slapping the current date on the end of the title so the fans would be able to distinguish the old from the new. This scheme, more often than not, resulted in sub-par work, marking the very moment a performer sailed off the end of the world into obscurity.
This is only partially true in this instance.
Bobby Freeman first hit the charts in 1958 with the original version of ‘Do You Wanna Dance’, returned in 1960 with ‘I Do the Shimmy Shimmy’ and then had his biggest hit in 1964 with the Sly Stone produced stormer ‘C’Mon and Swim’. He moved from Autumn to Loma in 1966, eventually landing at Double Shot (home to Brenton Wood and the Count Five among others) in 1969.
‘Do You Wanna Dance, 1970’ opens with en extended break, moves on into the soul clapping and then busts out into a hi-test reworking of his first hit.
It’s definitely one of those “how did I not know about this” records, which of course is a moot point because I know about it now, and once you pull down the ones and zeros, so will you.
I hope you dig it.
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