|Freddie Hughes is a soul artists who deserves far more attention because his outstanding tenor voice really puts the soul into soul music.|
Freddie was born on August 20, 1943 in Berkeley, California. His parents came to the Bay Area from Dallas/Fort Worth Texas. His father Fred W Hughes Senior worked as a longshoreman and his mother Lola Mae Anderson was a singer and missionary at the Church of God In Christ in Oakland. It was in this church where Freddie's qualities as a singer were noticed for the first time when he was only five years old. It took him a few more years, though, to have his first hit single.
In his early years Freddie played in quite a few outfits including the Holidays, Five Diciples, The Markeets, Casanova Two, Music City Soul Brothers and The Four Rivers. Subseqently he played with quite a lot of musicians (including Lonnie Hewitt, Wylie Trass, Johnny Talbot to name a few) and recorded several songs with them. Some of these were released as singles/albums and some never found a release. You can read a little bit more about these recordings here.
Freddie started to play on Oakland's club circuit around 1955 and in 1958 he released his first 45 with the Markeets with whom he released five more 45s and three albums on Melatone Records. In 1968 he recorded his first hit single "Send My Baby Back" which was released nationally by San Francisco's Wee Records and internationally by Scepter-Wand Records. As a matter of fact many people still attribute this song with the name of Fred Hughes who is a singer from L.A. and recorded the hit "Oo Wee Baby, I Love You" for the famous Vee-Jay label.
The mix-up between Freddie Hughes and Fred Hughes is quite a problem if you want to find out which songs were really recorded by Freddie Hughes as many online discographies/biographies are a total mess because they cannot distinguish beween Freddie Hughes and Fred Hughes. Releases such as the bootleg CD "Fred Hughes And His Groups" (it should have been Freddie not Fred) only help to contribute to this confusion as both artist are mixed-up again. Nevertheless the CD includes tracks Freddie recorded with several bands mentioned above, e.g. the Four Rivers' "I Confess," four selections from his stint with the Music City Soul Brothers, and "We Got to Keep On" by Casanova Two. Solo tracks include "Send My Baby Back," "My Baby Came Back," and "Where's My Baby".
In addition Freddie Hughes has been working with such greats as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Etta James, Ike & Tina Turner and the Bobby Murray Band (band leader & guitarist for Etta James) and has performed in venues, from the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area to New York as well as London, France, Italy, Switzerland and Holland.
In 1997 Freddie Hughes released the album "The Soul of Freddie Hughes" which was produced by Marlin Hunter and Chris Burns. The CD contains songs co-written by Hughes, together with Burns and Hunter. “The Soul Of Freddie Hughes” was recorded at the House of Hughes in Atlanta Ga. and released on the IFGABM Label. You can listen to some of the tracks here.
The International Alpha Band
Back: Ron Perry, Chris Burns, Kelvin Dixon, Rich Kirch
Front: Jeanne Doan, Freddie Hughes
|Jeanne Doan, who is a lyricst and published poet, and Freddie Hughes formed The International Alpha Band in November 1999 for the main purpose to book Freddie in public performances and keep his singing career alive. Jeanne saw Freddie for the first time in 1996 and by 1999 Freddie convinced her to be his manager and because of Freddie's world class voice she gave it a try. Their first weekly performances were at the historic Bluesville Nightclub in Jack London Square, Oakland, California from January to June 2000. Band members of The International Alpha Band included Freddie's long time pal Chris Burns as keyboard player and musical director, Kelvin Dixon on drums, Rich Kirch who used to play with John Lee Hooker on guitar and Ron Perry on bass. Guest artists include Mz. Dee, and Freddie's son Derrick Hughes.|
To further support Freddie's career Jeanne Doan created the website www.oklandmusic.com which is dedicated to introduce Freddie Hughes’ singing talents to the world as well as to the American public who does not know Freddie Hughes or does not know enough about his long journey and the quality of his singing. So far Jeanne did a great job to support Freddie.
"The Future Is Now" is a marvelous soul album that shows Freddie at his best. On this CD Freddie is joined by his son Derrick Hughes singing “The Woman I Want” co-written by Hughes and Burns. Other songs include “Trying To Be A Better Man” which was written by Freddie for his son; "Freedom" and "Baby I Believe In You" where the marvelous Mz. Dee joins Freddie on vocals and many more outstanding soul tunes. This album is highly recommended and I wish it would have gotten much more attention.|
So take the chance to check out Freddie Hughes' music and try to catch him live in the Bay Area. The picture on the right shows Freddie and Bill Gibson from Huey Lewis and the News who appeared on Tia Carroll & Hard Work's tour at the end of 2006 as guest artists.
Latest news in 2008: The Bay Area Blues Society & the City of Oakland will induct Freddie Hughes into the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 29. You can read more about this event if you visit the Blues Society's website or read this article in the Oakland Globe.
|Soul Of Freddie Hughes|
(IFGABM Records 1997)
|Do My Thing -- Save Our Love -- Nick Of Time -- Future Is Now -- Rock My Soul -- Love Land -- Mirage (Freddie's Theme) -- Trip City -- Hang On|
|Send My Baby Back|
Fred Hughes And His Groups
(Veltone Records 2000)
|Teardrops -- One Stepp too far -- I hope I never fall in Love -- Do it now -- Sooner or later -- I confess -- Looking for my Baby -- Something in my Eye -- Every Nite I see your face -- Let our Love go on -- We got to keep on -- Love’s Philosophy -- God bless our Love Part 1 -- God bless our Love Part 2 -- Where’s my baby -- Send my Baby back -- My Baby came back -- Love can’t be understood -- Tonight I’m gonna see my Baby -- We gotta kepp on -- He’s no good -- Natural Man -- I gotta keep my bluff in -- Every Night I see your lovely face -- You’re my everything -- What am I gonna do without your sweet Lovin’|
Out of print
|The Future Is Now|
& International Alpha Band
(O.K.LAND Productions 2002)
|Future Is Now -- Take Me To The River -- Broke And Hungry -- The Woman I Want -- Freedom -- Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You -- Trying To Be A Better Man -- Baby I Believe In You -- Heartbreak (It's Hurtin' Me) -- Last Two Dollars -- Let Them Talk -- C.C. Rider -- The Invisible -- Change Is Gonna Come|
Musicians: Freddie Hughes (vocals), Ron Perry (bass), Kelvin Dixon (drums), Rich Kirch (guitar); Mz. Dee (vocals), Derrick Hughes (vocals), Jon Woodhead (guitar), Greg Crockett (guitar), Carlos Zialcita (harmonica), Gaylon Jenkins (horns/trumpet), Bernard Anderson (horns/saxophone), Frank Samuels and Wilie Trass (background vocals)
Manager/Songwriter: Jeanne Doan
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