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:-



  1. I am very grateful that "Bobby Lee Fierce" is my talented uncle who as we know has been singing and writing good soulful music since the early 60’s. Unfortunately he passed a couple years ago due to health complications. But his memory still lingers on, as true music admirers like yourself continue to research and listen to classical sounds that never die..

    My Father Mr. Hezekiah Sheffield who is one of the original members of this group is currently married, and has raised several children. He is currently working at Lockheed Martin in Marietta Ga. Hezekiah is still singing and is an active member of his community. I am continuously inspired by my fathers amazing voice today as a musician myself. My family instiled a love for the Fabulous Denos before I was able to utter a word. Now at the age of 26 I am able to appreciate the efforts and passion put behind creating music.
    The soulful sound My Father and Uncle Bobby made continues to motivate and cultivate me as a passionate music lover to this day....

  2. Hi

    Thanks for dropping by and sharing your memories!!!

    Do you think your father would be interested in speaking to me and telling his story????



  3. I am making a documentary about Lester Maddox and would really like to interview the family and friends of Bobby Lee Fears. Please contact me at rj@inventiveproductions.com Thanks.

  4. Anonymous9:35 PM

    Wow... sorry to hear of Bobby's passing ...
    He hired my band to play for a re-union show with Lester Maddox, years ago...his 'manager' was the original John 3:16 guy with the multi-colored clown wig at ball games ...had a few rehearsals then the gig at the Penta Hotel penthouse ...all the tv stations were there, but
    Maddox never made the show due to illness ... Bobby rocked on anyway... and we heard a lot of great stories about their experiences on the Ed sullivan show etc... we'll always remember Bobby's famous line as he gathered us into a prayer circle beforehand: "Sweet Jesus, take us to Vegas". dm7@mindspring.com

  5. Anonymous4:22 AM

    Thanks for noticing my fathers work, he was the best and was best at every thing he did. R.I.P DAD.

  6. I am working on my documentary about Bobby Lee Fears now and really need photos, videos, audio recordings and funny or sad or interesting stories you may have about Bobby Lee Fears. I would like to do phone interviews with his family, friends, fans, and anyone who knew him. Please contact me at rj@inventiveproductions.com Thanks very much for your help. RJ