Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Bobby Lee Fears
Bobby Lee Fears was one of the lead singers of the Ohio Players in the mid 60's version of the band. You can hear him singing the gruff lead vocals on their Compass sides when they were the label's house band. They backed Helena Ferguson on her lone hit, Where Is the Party, before issuing their solo debut, Trespassin', which hit the R&B charts in early 1968.
You can find the Ohio Players's Compass sides on a package called First Impressons which has been reissued several times over the years. These sides are Johnny Brantley productions and it would be interesting to know how many of his productions they also played on. They certainly appeared on the Gloria Barnes album on Maple with their trademark bottom-heavy, horn-driven sound.
Bobby Fears did go over to Capitol, where 1969's Here Today, Gone Tomorrow was a minor hit; an LP, Observations in Time, soon followed, with covers of Summertime and Over the Rainbow. In 1970 the group disbanded, however; Fears mounted solo career with one 45 on Forward and Let's Get Together for Bell.
There is an article on Bobby which has more details of his life which was published in 2001 by the US magazine called Oxford American. The article has the fascinating tale of him hooking up with Lester Maddox, the racist former Georgia governor and forging a semi-successful musical career as a double act.
You can also see Bobby on a small piece of video posted on the blog below:-